A Title IX violation is a serious issue that must be dealt with quickly and with the help of an experienced lawyer at your side. Pennsylvania schools and universities take these types of allegations very seriously, and will pursue them aggressively. The sanctions you could face could negatively impact your education, your transcript, and your future career. The Title IX hearing is your opportunity to defend your case and protect your rights.
If you or your student is accused of a Title IX violation in Pennsylvania, experienced Title IX hearing attorney Joseph D. Lento is ready to fight for you. You do not have to face this difficult time alone.
Title IX Hearing Attorney in Pennsylvania
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully handled hundreds of Title IX cases involving serious allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape and sexual assault, at major colleges and universities nationwide. He is a driven and dedicated advocate for students facing Title IX charges.
Your rights deserve to be protected by an attorney highly experienced in fighting Title IX allegations. If you're facing a Title IX charge or need to appeal a Title IX ruling, call our office at 888.535.3686 to speak to an experienced Title IX lawyer about your case today.
Understanding Title IX
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that forbids discrimination as a result of sex (gender). It applies to elementary and secondary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities, and to federally-funded educational programs run by other institutions or businesses. Title IX applies to any educational “program or activity” that receives federal funding, including sports.
Title IX's definition of gender discrimination includes sexual violence and sexual harassment such as:
- sexual coercion,
- sexual battery,
- sexual assault, and
Universities that fail to abide by the Title IX rules risk losing their government funding. Accordingly, many colleges and universities have created a new position called a Title IX compliance officer. This officer is a person who is dedicated to handling Title IX investigations, hearings, and cases. Universities take these cases very seriously, and in many cases are overzealous in handling them for fear of losing their funding.
Title IX Hearings in Pennsylvania
Every educational institution in Pennsylvania will have in place unique processes that control Title IX complaints. While federal law applies certain guidelines that should be followed, the individual process can be different between different schools. It is that you work with an attorney well-versed with New Jersey universities and their different processes, so that your case is treated correctly.
In Title IX cases, the accuser is known as the complainant and the student accused of misconduct is known as the respondent. Both of these individuals are guaranteed certain rights in these hearings, as well as the right to impartiality by those in charge of the hearing. Evidence considered at these hearings is limited to the facts pertaining to this particular incident. This means that evidence of:
- prior violations,
- prior sexual or dating history, or
- character witnesses
should not play a role in determining the outcome of your case.
Title IX Process Timeline
The Title IX process will necessarily differ based on your school's model of enforcement, but the following is a general timeline of what you might expect:
- Day 1 – Qualifying Incident reported to the school through a complaint.
- Week 1 – Preliminary information is gathered, incident report completed, law enforcement called if appropriate. Investigating officers assigned by the Title IX coordinator, who notifies both complainant and respondent about the investigation.
- You should get in touch with a Title IX advisor as soon as you find out you're the subject of an investigation.
- Weeks 2-5 – Title IX investigation carried out.
- Week 6 – Title IX investigation completed, the final report presented to the Title IX coordinator. Both parties informed of findings.
- Week 7 – Title IX coordinator reviews the investigation results and decides the next course of action. Both parties informed of the decision and next steps.
- Weeks 7-8 – Judicial sanctioning board makes a decision and reports to both parties. The appeals process begins if requested.
- Day 60 – Long-term sanctions applied if the respondent is found responsible.
The timeline will differ with every school, as every process is a little different. However, the timeline above gives you a general idea of how your case will progress. Ultimately, the sooner you engage the protection of an experienced attorney the better your possible results can be.
Possible Consequences of Your Pennsylvania Title IX Hearing
The possible results of a negative finding against you in a Title IX hearing can range from mild to very severe. You should not assume everything will be just fine, as the possible sanctions against you can be quite severe. It is crucial that you engage an experienced attorney at the earliest possible stage, not after a finding has already been made against you.
Title IX sexual misconduct allegations could have serious consequences for your academic and professional careers. If you've been accused of sexual misconduct under Title IX:
- Your personal reputation could be impacted negatively.
- You could be sanctioned, suspended, or expelled from your high school, college, or university.
- The allegations in the complaint could result in further criminal or civil charges off-campus that could result in fines, jail time, or even registering as a sex offender.
- Title IX allegations and rulings can become a part of your permanent disciplinary record. This could hurt your chances with graduate schools, jobs, and professional licensing boards who look into your records.
Contact a Pennsylvania Title IX Hearing Attorney
No student wants to be contacted by their college or university to be informed that they are the subject of a Title IX disciplinary investigation, but when students and parents take the proper steps as early as possible, and approach the matter with an effective strategy, students can position themselves to best fight Title IX charges and to maximize the likelihood of success.