Handling Sexual Misconduct Accusations at the College of Staten Island

There are few charges a student can face that are more serious than sexual misconduct. If your school should find you responsible, you're likely facing expulsion. Often, expulsion comes with a transcript notation about the precise nature of your offense. That could very well prevent you from enrolling anywhere else. For all practical purposes, your academic career could be over.

It's no easy task to defend yourself from such charges. Judicial procedures are complicated, and in today's political climate, you can expect your school to favor your accuser as much as it can. You do have an important resource, though: you're allowed to select an advisor to help you prepare your case, and that advisor can be an attorney.

So, find out all you can about what you're up against. Learn about Title IX and how Title IX investigations work. Investigate what happens if your offense isn't covered under Title IX procedures. Then, contact Joseph D. Lento to represent you. Sexual misconduct allegations are serious business, and you can't afford to try and handle this situation all on your own.

Title IX Sexual Misconduct

The College of Staten Island handles most sexual misconduct allegations using guidelines set forth by Title IX. In fact, even non-Title IX cases are influenced by Title IX. Preparing for your case, then, means finding out as much as you can about this federal law.

Title IX was passed in 1972 and intended to reduce sexual discrimination and harassment in US education programs, including colleges and universities. In the fifty years since it was passed, “harassment” has come to include almost any sexually-based offense, from simple verbal intimidation to sexual assault and rape. In addition, the government has created an extensive list of rules for exactly how schools should go about investigating and adjudicating accusations.

  • Cases originate with your school's Title IX Coordinator. Anyone on campus may report knowledge of an offense, but only a Complainant (the alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint against you.
  • When you are charged, the Coordinator must provide you with a Notice of the Charges. This document should provide the name of the Complainant and details about the allegation.
  • Title IX guarantees you a number of important rights. Among these, you have:
    • The right to be presumed “not responsible” (innocent) until proven “responsible” (guilty)
    • The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
    • The right to be treated equally to the Complainant in all matters
    • The right to review all evidence against you
    • The right to advanced notice of all meetings and proceedings in the case
    • The right to be investigated and adjudicated by non-biased individuals
  • The Coordinator appoints an Investigator to uncover the facts in the case. This person meets separately with both sides and will give you an opportunity to tell your story, offer up evidence, and suggest witnesses.
  • At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator is tasked with writing an unbiased summary of their findings. Both sides then have ten days to review this document and suggest any revisions before it is forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Once the Coordinator receives the Investigative Report, they set a date and time for a live hearing. In addition, they select members of an Adjudication Committee to hear the case.
  • At the hearing, you may present evidence and call witnesses to testify on your behalf. In addition, you may—through your advisors—cross-examine each other and any other witnesses against you.
  • Following the hearing, the Adjudication Committee meets to determine whether or not you are Responsible for a Title IX violation. In making this determination, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” According to this standard, they must find you Responsible if they are more than fifty percent convinced you committed an offense. Note: this is significantly less strict than the “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” standard.
  • If you are found Responsible, the Adjudication Committee then convenes a second hearing to consider your sanction. During this hearing, both sides may present evidence and witnesses who might have a bearing on the severity of your punishment.

Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

For many years, all sexual misconduct cases were Title IX cases. That changed in 2020 when the Trump administration revised Title IX definitions and guidelines. Among other changes, the administration narrowed the meanings of “discrimination” and “harassment” and limited schools' jurisdictional authority. As a result, some types of sexual misconduct were no longer covered under the law. For instance, off-campus incidents are not currently subject to Title IX enforcement.

Like many schools, CSI responded to these changes by re-writing its own school policies to make sure these incidents don't fall through the cracks in the system. You can find a full description of these “Non-Title IX” procedures alongside the Title IX procedures in the school's Policy on Sexual Misconduct.

There is some overlap between the two processes. For instance, you're entitled to many of the same rights, such as the right to be presumed Not Responsible and the right to review the evidence against you.

There are also some significant differences between the two processes, though. Keep in mind that because non-Title IX misconduct isn't subject to federal law, CSI is under no obligation to use any particular set of procedures or to provide you with any particular due process rights. For instance, there are some inherent conflicts of interest in CSI's non-Title IX procedures. The Title IX Coordinator serves as the Investigator in these cases, meaning there's no check on this administrator's authority. In addition, you are not entitled to a hearing. Instead, the Investigator—again, the Coordinator—determines your responsibility at the conclusion of the investigation.

In short, if you're being investigated under non-Title IX, it's even more important that you have an attorney at your side since you'll need someone to make sure you're being treated fairly.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just any 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. He understands Title IX, its history, and its politics, but he's also experienced in dealing with non-Title IX 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 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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