Handling a Sexual Misconduct Accusation at Daytona State College

If you're a college student accused of sexual misconduct the first thing you need to know is that you absolutely must take it seriously. It is no exaggeration to say that your academic and professional futures are on the line. The minimum punishment in these cases is almost always suspension, and the truth is you're probably looking at expulsion if you're found responsible for a violation. You won't find many other schools willing to accept you if you already have a sexual misconduct expulsion on your record.

How do you take an accusation like this seriously? You start by learning all you can about what you're facing. How does your school conduct investigations? Will you get a chance to defend yourself at a hearing? What are your rights in this process?

Then, you make sure you have someone in your corner who has experience with these kinds of cases. Title IX attorneys know the law as it applies to higher education; they know how to put together a winning defense strategy; they know how to make sure you're treated fairly. Taking your situation seriously—winning your case—requires you prepare yourself and that you find the right kind of help for this fight.

A Bit About Title IX

First up, you need to know about Title IX. Not every sexual misconduct case is a Title IX case, but one way or another all of them have something to do with Title IX.

Title IX is a federal law, passed in 1972, that prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment on college campuses. The word “harassment” is especially important: it references all forms of sexual misconduct, including violence. If you're been accused of anything from simple verbal harassment to dating violence and rape, you can expect your school to deal with it using guidelines set out by Title IX.

These guidelines aren't simple. They run to over 550 pages, and cover every aspect of investigations and hearings, from who's in charge of deciding whether to open a case against you, to how decision makers must go about determining whether or not you're “responsible for” (guilty of) a violation.

The guidelines are also subject to frequent change and reinterpretation. Title IX is a politically sensitive law, and every time a new President takes office, the Department of Education tends to issue new rules that affect how cases proceed.

In short, only someone who's studied the law, who knows its history and keeps up with its changes, can navigate its complexities. You can't hope to take on your case by yourself. You need a Title IX attorney by your side.

Title IX Procedures

You can find out everything you need to know about how Daytona State College implements Title IX by taking a look at its Title IX Compliance page. Here are the highlights, though.

  • DSC has a designated Title IX Coordinator. This person oversees the entire process from the initial charge to the final appeal.
  • You are entitled to Notice of the Charges if you're being investigated. This notice should identify the Complainant (alleged victim), provide details of the allegation, and apprise you of your rights.
  • Among your many rights under Title IX, you have the right to an advisor, who may be an attorney. You have the right to a presumption of “not responsible” (innocent). In addition, you have the right to review all evidence against you, to submit evidence and the names of witnesses, and to know well in advance of any meetings or proceedings in the case.
  • The Coordinator appoints an unbiased Investigator to uncover the facts in the case. This person collects any evidence and interviews all witnesses. Then they create a written report summarizing their findings. You have the right, though, to review this document and suggest revisions before it is finalized.
  • Once they've received the Investigative Report, the Coordinator sets a time and date for a live hearing and appoints one or more Decision Makers to preside over the proceedings.
  • At the hearing itself, both sides have an opportunity to present evidence, call witnesses, and make arguments. You also have the right to cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you. However, Title IX guidelines require that all cross-examination be conducted by advisors.
  • Ultimately, Decision Makers use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence” to determine whether or not you committed an offense. This standard requires them to find you responsible if they believe it is more than fifty percent likely that you violated Title IX policy.
  • Both sides also have the right to appeal the hearing outcome. However, grounds for appeal are strictly limited to
    • Procedural irregularities
    • New evidence
    • Bias on the part of a Title IX official

Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

Not all sexual misconduct cases are Title IX cases. For example, off-campus incidents aren't covered by the law. Instead, DSC handles them through its own school policies. Even so, these cases are still directly related to Title IX. That's because the school's policies were written in direct response to changes made to the law in 2020. Consequently, these policies can sometimes be even more rigid than Title IX itself.

Respondents aren't necessarily entitled to the same due process rights as they are under Title IX. For instance, you may not have the chance to defend yourself at a live hearing. Instead, the Investigator may simply decide the case at the end of their investigation. You may not have the chance to cross-examine your accuser. In fact, you might not even have the right to an attorney.

If you're dealing with a non-Title IX case, it's even more important to retain a Title IX lawyer. Even if they cannot represent you in hearings, when your rights are in question you need someone who can monitor everything that happens and make sure you're treated fairly.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

It's probably clear by this point why you need an attorney if you're facing sexual misconduct charges. The law is complex and it is ever-changing. The penalties are severe and judicial processes at your school aren't set up in your favor.

You don't want just any lawyer though. You might be tempted, for instance, to hire a local or family attorney, someone who knows you. The problem is, they just won't have the background and skills to provide you with effective representation.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just a defense attorney, though. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a Title IX attorney. That means he specializes in handling campus sexual misconduct cases. Joseph D. Lento has dedicated his career to fighting for student rights. Over the years, he has handled hundreds of cases for students just like you, making sure they're treated fairly and that they get the justice they deserve. If you're taking this situation seriously, you need the best help you can get. You need to Joseph D. Lento.

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.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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