If you're a college student facing sexual misconduct charges, you're probably feeling a lot of complex emotions right now. You're likely confused and angry. You may be hurt by the fact that someone you cared about, maybe even loved, has leveled such a serious allegation against you. You feel isolated and alone, and you wonder if anyone will believe you and take your side.
Let's take care of that last one right away. Joseph D. Lento believes you, and he wants to help. He knows that misunderstandings happen and that in today's political climate, schools don't always treat the accused fairly. It can be hard to navigate campus judicial processes, and sanctions are almost always all out of proportion to the actual offense. Joseph D. Lento has spent his career representing students just like you. He's on your side, and he's ready to get you the justice you deserve.
Title IX Cases
Northern Kentucky investigates and adjudicates virtually all of its sexual misconduct cases using guidelines set by the federal government under what's known as Title IX. These guidelines run to some 550 pages, and only experts in the law understand them all. Here are the most important strictures, though.
- Your school must have a designated Title IX Coordinator. This person sets policy regarding sexual misconduct and evaluates all accusations to determine whether or not they warrant an investigation.
- If your school does decide to investigate you, it must provide you with written notice of the charges. This notice will include the name of the Complainant (your accuser) as well as details about the allegation.
- You have several important rights. Among these, you have the right to
- A presumption of “Not Responsible” (Not Guilty)
- An advisor, who may be an attorney, to help you prepare your case and to represent you at meetings and hearings
- Review all evidence against you
- Submit evidence and suggest witnesses
- The Title IX Coordinator appoints the Investigator in the case. This person has 60-90 days to collect evidence and interview witnesses. You can expect they will meet with you to get your side of the story.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator completes a written summary of their findings. You have the right to read this report and to suggest revisions to any parts you disagree with.
- The Investigative Report is ultimately forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator. Once they've received it, the Coordinator sets a time and date for a live hearing. They also select a Decision Maker to preside over the case.
- At the hearing, you may submit evidence and call witnesses on your behalf. You may also—through your advisor—cross-examine the Complainant and any witnesses against you.
- Once the hearing is complete, the Decision Maker uses what's known as the “Preponderance of Evidence” standard to decide whether or not you are responsible for a sexual misconduct violation. According to this standard, they must find you responsible if they believe it is more than fifty percent likely you committed an offense.
- Finally, if you are found responsible, the Coordinator appoints a Sanctioning Panel. This group reviews the Decision Maker's decision and assigns you a disciplinary sanction.
- You can appeal the Decision Maker's decision. However, you must submit this appeal within five days of notice of the outcome. In addition, you may only file appeals for very specific reasons:
- Procedural irregularity
- New evidence
- Conflict of interest on the part of a Title IX official
Non-Title IX Cases
It is worth knowing that there is another type of sexual misconduct case known as a “Non-Title IX case.” The reason for this is that Title IX doesn't cover every instance of sexual misconduct. For example, the law doesn't apply to incidents that happen off-campus. However, NKU prohibits non-Title IX sexual misconduct under its own Student Code of Conduct. In addition, it has adopted a set of procedures to deal with these cases.
For the most part, NKU's non-Title IX procedures are the same as its Title IX procedures. For instance, you are still entitled to an advisor who may be an attorney. You are still allowed to present your case at a hearing. Decision Makers still use the Preponderance of Evidence standard to determine the outcome.
There are some key differences, however. For example, advisors cannot participate as fully in non-Title IX cases as they do in Title IX cases. In addition, your case might be heard by either an administrative official or a panel chosen from a pool of faculty, staff, and students.
How Can Joseph D. Lento Help
Whether you're dealing with a Title IX or non-Title IX allegation, you should never try to handle the situation on your own. There's simply too much at stake. If you're found responsible, the minimum penalty will likely be suspension. In most cases, the sanction is expulsion. That may very well mean the end of your academic career since most schools are reticent to accept students who've been expelled from other schools.
Luckily, you don't have to deal with this situation alone. Title IX and NKU's Code of Conduct policies both entitle you to choose an advisor. Even better, this advisor can be an attorney. Trust your case to Joseph D. Lento. Joseph D. Lento built his career defending student rights. He knows the law, he knows its history, and he knows how it is affected by political change. Equally as important, though, he's used to dealing with faculty and administrators. He's just as comfortable in a seminar room as he is in a courtroom, and he knows how to tailor his arguments to a campus audience. Most important of all, though, Joseph D. Lento believes in you. He knows what you're going through, and he's determined to make sure you're treated fairly.
If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to act. The school is already preparing its case. You should be too. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.