After you've learned that you face allegations of sexual misconduct or Title IX accusations, it's easy to feel like the entire world has turned its back on you.
Especially if there is no truth to those allegations, particularly if you're completely innocent, this can feel like a harsh sentence to bear. There will be people who don't want to interact with you anymore. You might have also heard that you should refrain from confiding in people. Even after your school dismisses your allegations, you might find that you're not sure what to tell people.
Unfortunately, your Title IX accusations could follow you around for the rest of your career, regardless of the fact that they're baseless. This means that you'll need to have some idea of how to talk to friends, family, your employers, and other important people in your life after your false Title IX allegation.
Here's what you need to know.
Handling Sensitive Conversations After a False Accusation: A General Timeline
It's understandable that once you receive word about your false accusation - whether it's from the complainant, from your university, or from a scary-looking Title IX letter - you'd want to reach out to friends and family for comfort.
While you're still in the midst of your school's disciplinary process, this might not be the best idea. After that first contact from your school, you're officially the subject of a Title IX investigation. That means that anything you say - to anyone - could be considered evidence. You need to refrain from confiding in anyone, even though you're innocent. Your school is under tremendous pressure to pursue an investigation against you, and you need to make sure that you don't give them any reason to believe you might be guilty.
The one exception concerns reaching out to a reputable legal advisor. Your lawyer will be able to provide experience-based advice about how to handle interviews or meetings during the course of your investigation. Your advisor can also help you figure out when it's okay to start telling friends and family about what happened—and help you decide how best to frame the incident to future employers to place you in the best possible light.
While your school may offer you an in-house advisor for your case, remember that this person works for the school, not for you. It is in your interest to retain outside counsel whose loyalties will not be in conflict.
Your Friends and Family
Your friends may not realize what is at stake for you. They will want to be there to help you feel less scared and anxious, but they might not understand the damage done to your reputation. Rely on your friends for emotional support and talk to them about your struggles as you deal with the aftermath, but stick to the basics (or the statement you craft with your advisor) when it comes to discussing the alleged event.
Your parents might not realize that this is something that you need to handle - now. It's a sad fact that Title IX respondents often don't receive the rights they're due in terms of a fair trial. Make sure to impress upon your parents the importance of clearing your reputation now, before the incident settles in a less-than-flattering way.
Your Future Employers
A Title IX investigation can present a major roadblock when it comes to pursuing further academic or professional opportunities. It will likely be important to get ahead of the story. Assume that your interviewer will look you up online or otherwise hear about your false allegations. Prepare a concise and persuasive statement solidifying your innocence beforehand. This will allow you to present the details on your terms, and give you a chance to assure your future boss of your innocence in a convincing way.
How a Title IX Attorney-Advisor can Help You Share Your Narrative
As an innocent respondent in a Title IX investigation, it's easy to feel that there's not much that you can do. When you're able to tell your friends and family about the events, they might believe you. When you're faced with telling future academic admissions boards or your dream employer that you were once the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation, you might be less optimistic.
That's why it's a good idea to work with a qualified attorney-advisor who has helped other students in your situation. There are several benefits of retaining an attorney—and those benefits will not only help you work towards a successful outcome in your case, they'll also help prepare you for the difficult conversations that lie ahead.
Here's what an empathetic, experienced Title IX advisor can do for you:
- They can provide guidance through every step of your Title IX investigation, backed by extensive legal training and targeted student defense experience.
- They can help you prepare a strong defense strategy.
- They can coach you for interviews with your school—and for tough conversations with the people in your life.
- They can hold your school accountable to its own stated procedures.
- They can negotiate with your school's attorneys on your behalf.
Moreover, a talented attorney can shoulder much of the logistical burden of your case, leaving you time and space to come to terms with what has happened. This can jumpstart the healing process—giving you some emotional bandwidth to prepare for the tough conversations ahead.
Call Joseph D. Lento Today to Get the Experienced Help You Need
Navigating the minefield of conversations you'll encounter after your false Title IX accusation can be extraordinarily difficult, overwhelming, and frustrating. There will be people who make unkind assumptions about you. There will be people who just don't get what the big deal is. There are also conversations that you'll need to have with your family and prospective employers to make your innocence clear in a practical, believable way.
If you're going through the Title IX adjudication process as an innocent respondent, you're going to need support knowing how and when to initiate communication with your peers and your parents. You're going to need assistance knowing what you can say and the best way to say it. This might seem like a small thing, but the way you move past your false Title IX allegations will set the stage for the rest of your life. These conversations will decide whether your reputation goes up in flames with the false accusations, or whether you'll be able to move past it with your head held high.
This is a delicate situation, and you'll need to handle it deftly. Don't do this without the benefit of years of Title IX experience by your side. Joseph D. Lento has defended hundreds of students nationwide from false Title IX accusations, and he can help you do the same—and he can also assist with the aftermath in the most strategic way. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more about how we can help you.