When sexual misconduct allegations are flying around and you get accused of violating Title IX, hiring a lawyer is the first step towards defending against a Title IX complaint. Strangely, many people think that “lawyering up” is a strong sign of guilt, especially when they are staunch advocates for the rights of victims of sexual assault. This perception is incorrect for four reasons, and should not be taken seriously as you plan your defense strategy.
1. Your Future is On the Line
The claim that hiring a lawyer to defend against an allegation of sexual misconduct on campus is a sign of guilt is misguided in large part because the allegation is not a trivial one. Students accused of sexual misconduct can get expelled. If the accusation is especially serious, like for rape, the misconduct investigation can turn into a full-fledged criminal investigation.
With so much on the line, hiring a lawyer is critically important for your future. Rather than being a sign of guilt, bringing in a lawyer like Joseph D. Lento to defend your rights and interests is a wise decision that can protect your professional future.
2. The Hearing Does Not Always Reach the Right Outcome
People who claim that hiring a lawyer is a sign of a guilty student rely on a hidden assumption about the Title IX process: The Title IX hearing will reach the correct outcome, every time. Because these hearing panels are often filled with staff, faculty, and even other students, this is far from the case. Panels fall for unreliable evidence of guilt all the time. Having a lawyer at your side is the best way to make sure the irrelevance or unreliability of evidence is made very clear to the panel.
3. Lawyers Strive for the Truth
The distrust of lawyers comes from the important misconception that lawyers are there to muddy the waters and hide the truth. This is exactly the opposite of what a lawyer does. Lawyers are experts at presenting arguments that are designed to make it clear what happened in a particular case, including in a Title IX allegation. Lawyers are there to show the judge what happened and why a particular side of the story is the right one. Claims that a lawyer coerced a judge into the wrong decision are really criticisms better aimed at the judge. They also usually come from the losing side in the argument.
4. A Student's Due Process Rights
Finally, a claim that hiring a Title IX defense lawyer indicates guilt fails to recognize that a student has due process rights that frequently get trampled during a Title IX case. Students have a right to have their case heard by a neutral and unbiased panel and should be entitled to have the opportunity to present evidence of their innocence. If a lawyer gets in the way of an accuser's claims of sexual misconduct by enforcing the accused student's due process rights and showing their innocence, then the real problem was the frailty of the accuser's claims.
Joseph D. Lento: A National Title IX Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a Title IX violation in college, ignore the empty claims that hiring a lawyer is only something that the guilty do. It is wrong and dangerous for any system that cares about the truth. Call attorney Lento at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online.