Colleges and universities now have Title IX coordinators who have a duty to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Federal guidelines require that all such complaints are thoroughly examined or the institution may risk the loss of critical federal educational funds. Title IX was established to prevent discrimination in all educational institutions. Schools are required to probe potential violations and may levy penalties and sanctions on the student. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is an agency that will reassess the matter independently if they feel that a complaint they receive has merit. Students facing sanctions in these campus disciplinary actions may benefit from contacting the Lento Law Firm for assistance.
Investigations of Potential Violations
The colleges and universities in Montana have specific written procedures established for investigating complaints involving sexual harassment or assault. A hearing is later held where their findings are presented and sanctions may be handed down. Those choosing to appeal the decision of the institution may do so in accordance with the grievance policy of their school.
OCR Complaint Filing
Students that are unsuccessful in the appeals process may elect to pursue a formal OCR complaint. It is strongly recommended that this process be done after consulting with experienced legal counsel. A lawyer can assist you with drafting a highly effective complaint that will persuade the OCR to reevaluate the matter.
Why Will the OCR Dismiss a Title IX Complaint?
- The complaint is beyond their scope of legal authority
- A clear violation of an OCR enforced law is not contained in the complaint
- The complaint was not filed prior to the deadline and waiver of time is not granted
- Information is deemed as “speculative, conclusory, or incoherent” or does not suggest actions of a discriminatory nature
- Complainant does not respond to a request made within the 14-day period allotted
- The complaint has otherwise been resolved
- Another agency employing a similar acceptable process for resolving Title IX complaints has or is currently investigating the matter
- A state or federal court has received a filing alleging the same or related facts contained in the complaint
- The complaint is one of a series of filings against recipients that places an undue strain on the resources available to the OCR
Title IX: Standards of Evidence
The standard of evidence was not specifically explained when the Title IX provisions were drafted. In the past, the Department has endorsed the usage of the “preponderance of the evidence” standard that applies to civil matters. Detractors feel this standard is not suitable for Title IX processes, which do not have clear rules of evidence and rarely have parties who retain legal counsel. The Department recently proposed that the “clear and convincing evidence” standard be enacted as an available option. With such significant considerations like the burden of proof being potentially changed it is more critical than ever to retain experienced legal counsel.
Student Disciplinary Defense Lawyer in Montana
Often the college or university investigation process is conducted erratically without proper attention given to the rights that the accused is entitled to. Joseph D. Lento is an attorney with a solid understanding of the Title IX disciplinary process. Students who feel they are not being treated fairly should contact the office for a confidential consultation today at (888) 535-3686.
- Blackfeet Community College
- Carroll College
- Chief Dull Knife College
- Dawson Community College
- Flathead Valley Community College
- Fort Belknap College
- Fort Peck Community College
- Little Big Horn College
- Miles Community College
- Montana State University
- Montana State University Billings
- Montana State University Great Falls College of Technology
- Montana State University Northern
- Montana Tech of the University of Montana
- Montana Tech College of Technology
- Rocky Mountain College
- Salish Kootenai College
- Stone Child College
- The University of Montana
- The University of Montana Western
- University of Great Falls
- University of Montana Helena College of Technology
Students and parents at times do not realize until after a finding of responsibility and the imposition of adverse sanctions that sexual misconduct allegations at college can result in severe consequences academically and professionally and in the short and long-term. The earlier the necessary steps are taken to address a Title IX case, the better, because these are cases that can be won at the school-level. There are times, however, that the help of the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (DOE-OCR) is needed and Joseph D. Lento has a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at colleges and universities throughout the nation and has helped many clients seek recourse with the DOE-OCR. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who helps students in Montana with DOE-OCR Title IX complaints, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Montana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.