Accusations of sexual misconduct are incredibly serious. Schools, colleges, and universities have no choice but to respond to such allegations quickly and completely. Failure to do so could result in negative press attention and may even have legal consequences for the institution. Given the high stakes in play, it's important to take action when you or a loved one has been charged with a Title IX offense.
Title IX allows the accused party to choose an advisor to help them through the investigation and hearing. In most cases, that advisor should be a professional attorney.
As soon as you learn you're the subject of a Title IX investigation, it's crucial to reach out to an experienced Title IX attorney for help. Given the intricacies and complexity of Title IX, you'll want someone well-versed in the law sitting by your side.
The Basics of Title IX
Passed as a federal law back in 1972, Title IX was designed to eliminate instances of sexual discrimination in the US educational system. Today, it's the primary means by which high schools and colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct.
The law changes frequently, though. Navigating changes to Title IX can be challenging. In 2020, for example, the Trump administration completely overhauled the way Title IX can be enforced. Then, in 2021, the Biden administration repealed most of those changes. Later that year, President Biden made additional updates to Title IX, including transgender students as a protected group.
How is Title IX being implemented right now, you might ask?
- As of 2022, Title IX complaints must be initiated with a school's Title IX Coordinator. Only this individual may sign off on such a complaint.
- After an accusation has been levied, Title IX Coordinators must notify the respondent of the charges. The name of the complainant and the details of their allegations are included. A Title IX notification must also inform the respondent of their rights, including their right to be presumed “not responsible” and the right to an advisor.
- The Title IX Coordinator then appoints an Investigator to look into the allegations. The Investigator will meet with both parties, collect physical evidence, and interview witnesses.
- After wrapping up their investigation, the Investigator writes a report of their findings. Both parties will have the opportunity to read the report and suggest changes before it is handed back over to the Title IX Coordinator.
- This is the decision-making phase of the process. Respondents at the college or university level are entitled to defend themselves at a live hearing. K-12 schools have the choice to hold hearings but are not required to do so under Title IX. Instead, the Coordinator may assign a solo decision-maker to review the findings of the investigation and determine a verdict.
- Both parties are represented by advisors at Title IX hearings. These advisors can call witnesses and introduce evidence. They also have the right to cross-examine one another and the witnesses called.
- Title IX cases may be heard by a panel or by a single decision-maker. These individuals make their decisions based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard – considered much less strict than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard with which most people are familiar. This requires decision-makers to only be just over 50 percent convinced that the respondent committed a violation.
- Both sides have the chance to appeal decisions. Typically, appeals must be submitted within ten days' time. Appeals may only be filed if new evidence has been discovered, there has been a clear mistake in Title IX procedures, or if there is obvious bias on the part of Title IX officials.
What's in Jeopardy
An academic institution may tell you it uses a range of sanctions to punish Title IX violations, including written warnings, restitution, and mandated counseling. The reality is that suspension is often considered to be the minimum penalty. Schools frequently expel students they find responsible for sexual misconduct.
Expulsion can be traumatic for students, but it's often just the beginning of the long-reaching consequences of a Title IX violation. Your school may indicate the reason for your suspension or expulsion on your transcript, making it challenging to transfer to another institution. In this sense, a Title IX violation can effectively end your academic career.
Even if you manage to avoid suspension or expulsion, Title IX violations may impact your financial aid eligibility. You may also struggle to get the internship you've been hoping to land or find it difficult to gain acceptance into master's programs. Even searching for your first job after graduation becomes more challenging with a Title IX violation on your record.
How Can Attorney Joseph D. Lento Help with Title IX Violations?
Title IX is nothing if not intimidating for students. When your entire future is on the line, it can be especially frustrating to defend yourself under rules that are constantly changing.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has made a career of assisting students through Title IX allegations. He's worked with hundreds of students across the country dealing with everything from sexual misconduct charges to stalking and rape allegations. Joseph D. Lento knows the law inside out and brings that perspective to the academic world. Each day is spent talking with faculty and administrators, fighting on behalf of clients, and negotiating the fairest settlements possible. Regardless of whether you're hoping to clear your name or make a deal to salvage your academic career, Joseph D. Lento can be your advocate.
If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct under Title IX in New Jersey, don't delay. Your college or university is likely already preparing their case, so it's important not to fall behind. Contact the Lento Law Firm's office today at 888-535-3686 or use our automated online form.
New Jersey 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:
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 New Jersey and Pennsylvania serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact New Jersey Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.