If you're facing a Title IX accusation at your school, it's important you understand: you can't handle this situation all on your own. Title IX cases are serious business. It's no exaggeration to say that your entire future is at stake. The minimum penalty is typically suspension. Far more often, schools simply expel students who are found responsible (guilty) for committing a violation.
With so much at stake, you'd think schools would make it easy to defend yourself, that proving your innocence would be simple and straightforward. In fact, the opposite is true. Title IX cases are messy and complex, and justice is often slanted in favor of accusers rather than the accused.
Luckily, you don't have to deal with this situation all on your own. Current Title IX guidelines entitle you to an advisor, someone to help you prepare your case and to represent you in front of investigators and hearing panels. The trick is finding the right advisor. You don't want just anyone. You need someone who knows the law, someone with experience taking on faculty and administrators. You need a Title IX attorney.
How Title IX Works
If you've ever tried to fight a campus parking ticket, you know how difficult it can be to take on your school's administration. Fighting through a school's red tape is no easy task. When you're dealing with Title IX, though, you aren't just taking on your school. You're also taking on the federal government. Title IX is a federal law with its own complicated rules and procedures, and if you don't know exactly what you're doing, you can easily make your situation worse.
Here's a rough outline of just some of what you need to know.
- Your school must have a designated Title IX Coordinator. Anyone at your school can accuse you, and at some schools, faculty and staff are required to file reports if they suspect sexual misconduct. Only a complaint or the Coordinator can actually sign an official complaint, though.
- You have the right to know you are being investigated. Once a complaint has been signed, the Coordinator must provide you with a Notice of the Charges. This should include details about the allegation as well as the name of your accuser. It should also apprise you of your rights, including the right to be presumed innocent and the right to see any evidence against you.
- The Coordinator assigns the Investigator to the case. This person is responsible for interviewing witnesses and collecting any physical evidence.
- Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator writes a report summarizing their findings. Both sides have the right to view this report and suggest revisions. It's then sent to the Coordinator.
- Following the investigation. Colleges and universities must give you a chance to defend yourself at a live hearing. Title IX does not require high schools to provide hearings, though some do.
- Hearings are usually conducted by a single individual, a Hearing Officer. However, some schools use a panel of three or even five to preside over the case.
- Hearings must be live, but either side may request accommodations like privacy screens or closed-circuit video.
- At the hearing, both sides present evidence and call witnesses on their behalf. In addition, both sides may question one another and cross-examine any witnesses against them.
- Decision-makers use the “preponderance of evidence” standard to determine whether or not you are responsible for a violation. According to this standard, they must find you responsible if they are over fifty percent sure you committed the offense.
- Both sides have a right to appeal the outcome of the hearing, but only under limited conditions. These include:
- Procedural mistakes
- Bias on the part of a Title IX official
- The discovery of new evidence
One of the many advantages of hiring a Title IX attorney to serve as your advisor is that they know this process inside and out. They can help you avoid mistakes, but more importantly, they can ensure your school adheres to the law and affords you every right you deserve.
Choosing an Advisor
It's one thing to know you need an attorney. It's another to go through the process of actually finding one. Of course, there are thousands of lawyers out there making all sorts of promises. What should you be looking for, though? How do you know when you've found the right person to take your case?
Keep in mind: you don't want just any attorney. Many students, for instance, wind up hiring a local or family attorney. That's a mistake. Family attorneys do a great job of drafting wills and defending clients from minor disputes. They aren't qualified to deal with Title IX cases, though. Title IX is a federal law. It has a complicated history, and it is the subject of fierce ongoing political debate. You don't want a novice to wade into that. You want an attorney who's studied the law and who has experience defending clients specifically from Title IX allegations.
What you want is the best attorney, not the closest one. Remember: your lawyer doesn't need to be from Kansas. Title IX is a federal law. What matters most is that you choose someone with the right qualifications. How do you know if an attorney is qualified? You can find out pretty quickly by asking three simple questions:
- How many Title IX cases have you dealt with?
- What's your success rate with Title IX cases?
- What specific strategies would you use to handle my case?
You'll only know for sure which attorney is right for you when you have the answers to these questions.
Joseph D. Lento, Title IX Attorney
Joseph D. Lento has the right answers to all these questions. Joseph D. Lento is a nationally recognized Title IX attorney. Over the course of his career, he's defended literally hundreds of students, just like you, from all types of sexual misconduct charges. He's dealt with simple harassment accusations, stalking allegations, even rape charges. Joseph D. Lento has seen schools bend the rules to convict innocent students. He knows that schools use sanctions that are totally out of proportion to the nature of the crime. Joseph D. Lento is committed to putting a stop to these practices, ensuring you're treated fairly, and to getting you the best possible resolution to your case.
If you or your child have been accused of Title IX sexual misconduct in Kansas, don't wait to see what will happen. Contact the Lento Law Firm's Kansas office today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.
Kansas colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Allen County Community College
- Baker University
- Barclay College
- Barton County Community College
- Benedictine College
- Bethany College
- Bethel College North Newton
- Brown Mackie College Kansas City
- Brown Mackie College Salina
- Bryan University Topeka
- Butler Community College
- Central Baptist Theological Seminary
- Central Christian College of Kansas
- Cleveland Chiropractic College
- Cloud County Community College
- Coffeyville Community College
- Colby Community College
- Cowley County Community College
- Dodge City Community College
- Donnelly College
- Emporia State University
- Flint Hills Technical College
- Fort Hays State University
- Fort Scott Community College
- Friends University
- Garden City Community College
- Hesston College
- Highland Community College
- Hutchinson Community College
- Independence Community College
- ITT Technical Institute Wichita
- Johnson County Community College
- Kansas City Kansas Community College
- Kansas State University
- Kansas Wesleyan University
- Labette Community College
- Manhattan Area Technical College
- Manhattan Christian College
- McPherson College
- MidAmerica Nazarene University
- National American University Overland Park
- National American University Wichita
- Neosho County Community College
- Newman University
- North Central Kansas Technical College
- Ottawa University Ottawa
- Pinnacle Career Institute Lawrence
- Pittsburg State University
- Pratt Community College
- Salina Area Technical College
- Seward County Community College and Area Technical School
- Southwestern College
- Sterling College
- Tabor College
- The Art Institutes International Kansas City
- University of Kansas
- University of Phoenix Wichita Campus
- University of Saint Mary
- Vatterott College Wichita
- Washburn University
- Wichita Area Technical College
- Wichita State University
- Wright Career College
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. 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, 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 and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Kansas and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.