Physical Therapy Student Title IX Charges

Physical Therapy as a Rewarding Career 

Physical therapy is a rewarding healthcare career. Don't let Title IX sexual misconduct charges interfere with your pursuit of a physical therapy career. U.S. News ranks physical therapy in the top ten favored healthcare fields. The same report shows that physical therapists earn a rewarding $91,010 median salary, while projecting nearly 50,000 new physical therapy jobs. Solid compensation and abundant job opportunities make physical therapy a popular healthcare field. But physical therapists also have the satisfaction of helping patients regain physical function. Physical therapists help patients return to work, engage once again in favoritefavorites recreations, and perform household duties for themselves and family members. Physical therapists help their patients enjoy life once again. Physical therapists also promptly see the product of their knowledge, skill, and labors in their patients' renewed mobility, strength, activity, and joy. Physical therapists generally deal less with disease and more with recovery. Physical therapists often control their own schedules, not dealing with the emergencies of other healthcare fields. Physical therapists also often get to work literally hand in hand with their patients, forming positive relationships. Patients often love their physical therapist, while their surgeon maybe not so much. If you've begun a physical therapy program, don't give it up simply because you now face Title IX charges. 

Advancing Through a Physical Therapy Program 

The obvious rewards of a job and career in physical therapy are good reasons for physical therapy students to persist in their education and training programs. Physical therapy is a stable and satisfying career in a growing field with good pay and benefits. When you started your physical therapy program, after earning your undergraduate degree or studying for three years in a three-plus-three program, you were well aware of the benefits of your chosen physical therapy field. Since then, you have invested substantial time, money, and effort in pursuing your physical therapy degree. The American Physical Therapy Association indicates that your studies have included or will include biology, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, clinical reasoning, and several other fascinating and challenging subjects. Your studies are giving you a powerful knowledge base from which to do much good in the field. If you have already begun your clinical curriculum, often comprising about twenty percent of a physical therapy program, you are gaining confidence that you can deploy your knowledge effectively for patient progress. Your desire to finish your education is likely increasing each day. Keep at it. Good things come to those who persist. Don't succumb to what the American Physical Therapy Association calls the impostor syndrome, where you stop believing in your ability to become a qualified physical therapist, simply because you face false, exaggerated, unfair, or unsupported Title IX allegations. 

Sexual Misconduct in Physical Therapy Programs 

False Title IX sexual misconduct allegations can happen in physical therapy programs, more readily than in other professional fields. Touching is necessary for physical therapy. Physical therapy requires that students hold, bend, stretch, and massage limbs, hands, feet, torso, neck, or other areas of the body in the course of treatment. Close and repeated physical contact can cause patients, or the student peers or others on whom physical therapy students practice, to misunderstand and misconstrue that professional contact as if it invited or constituted intimate sexual contact. Physical therapy is a touchy, feely field, where touching and feeling invites misunderstandings around sexual intent, fostering false sexual misconduct allegations. Health organizations rightly caution patients not to misunderstand a physical therapist's touching as if it were intimate touching. But healthcare providers also encourage patients to report suspected physical therapist sexual misconduct. And patients can, at times, express their own sexuality in the course of physical therapy treatment. Indeed, one source reports a study showing that about eighty percent of physical therapists experience patient sexual comments, advances, or invitations. Sexual misconduct allegations can occur in any professional program, even ones that do not involve touching as part of the clinical practice. But sexual misconduct allegations are an especially significant risk for physical therapists and physical therapy students. 

Title IX Scope and Law 

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits federally funded colleges and universities, including professional schools, from discriminating based on sex. If your physical therapy program receives federal funding, including the proceeds of your federal student loans, then your physical therapy school must prohibit sex discrimination. Under Title IX regulations, prohibited sex discrimination includes more than simply the school denying students admission or advancement because of their sex. Title IX regulations also require schools to prohibit students from committing sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment that denies a student equal access to education. Sexual harassment can include both the quid pro quo form of conditioning educational benefits on acceptance of sexual advances and the hostile environment form where unwelcome sexual conduct is sufficiently severe and pervasive as to interfere with education. In short, your physical therapy program must monitor, investigate, and punish student sexual misconduct, or your school could lose its federal funding.  

Sexual Misconduct Policies in Physical Therapy Programs 

Physical therapy programs must be rigorous, meeting standards promoted by organizations like the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy. Physical therapy programs fulfill their Title IX obligations by enacting Title IX policies and procedures. Indeed, school sexual misconduct policies often prohibit more than the sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual harassment that Title IX requires schools to prohibit. School policies often extend sexual misconduct prohibitions beyond Title IX to include various forms of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can include non-violent misconduct like voyeurism, sexting, blackmail using sexual images, and the deliberate transmission of a sexual disease. The University of Delaware's physical therapy program, ranked top in the nation, is an example. The physical therapy program's students must comply with the university-wide Non-Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Title IX Policy. That policy exposes physical therapy students to the risk of sexual misconduct charges of any of the above-listed types. If you face Title IX sexual misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, or non-Title IX sexual misconduct charges, retain national Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Title IX defense team to defend and defeat those charges. Don't let false, exaggerated, unsupported, or unfair sexual misconduct charges derail your physical therapy education.  

The Potential Educational Impact of Title IX Charges 

Take Title IX charges seriously. Title IX charges can derail a physical therapy education and career. Sexual misconduct findings can cripple the educational program and career of anyone but especially of healthcare workers who deal so closely with their patients. And that impact is not simply because of federal law and its requirements. That impact also has to do with the natural and moral obligation of healthcare providers to protect patients. Health sciences programs and healthcare professions must be especially diligent about sexual misconduct because of the vulnerability of patients under examination and treatment. Thus, Title IX policies at physical therapy schools, like the Interim Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment for doctor of physical therapy students at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, authorize student discipline right up to and including suspension and expulsion for Title IX violations. Don't assume that Title IX charges will lead only to a warning or reprimand. Suspension or expulsion is instead the sanction to which disciplinary officials tend to turn when the student fails to mount an aggressive and effective defense. Title IX policies, like the one at Northwestern University, also routinely grant the school the power to bar the accused student from campus, even before a formal hearing in many cases. Suspension or expulsion are not the only means by which schools resolve Title IX charges. Skilled Title IX defense attorney representation can lead to early dismissal, dismissal after hearing, or compromise relief like additional training or education. But take Title IX charges seriously, or you may lose your ability to continue and complete your physical therapy education. 

Other Adverse Impacts of Title IX Findings 

Unfortunately, Title IX findings can have other serious impacts on a physical therapy student's ambition to complete the education and enter a rewarding career. Your challenge when facing Title IX charges isn't simply to remain enrolled in your physical therapy program. Your greater interest may be in maintaining a school record clear of damaging Title IX findings. The collateral impacts of a Title IX violation can be greater than the direct impacts on the accused student's schooling. You must navigate your school's Title IX charges effectively to avoid these other collateral impacts. If your school finds that you committed Title IX violations, you may not only face suspension or expulsion but could also suffer any or all of these additional adverse impacts: 

  • Lost college or university housing, transportation, medical care, and employment; 
  • Lost scholarships, grants, awards, and other financial aid and support, and accelerated school loans; 
  • The inability to gain admission to other physical therapy programs or other schools; 
  • Lost references, recommendation letters, mentors, and other professional, friend, and family support; 
  • Lost ability to prove character and fitness for physical therapy licensure before the regulatory body; and 
  • Loss of an internship, job, and career in physical therapy, other healthcare fields, or other professional fields. 

Title IX Sexual Misconduct and Professionalism Charges 

Physical therapy program professionalism codes and policies add to the student's risks and responsibilities around Title IX sexual misconduct. The physical therapy student who violates a Title IX policy will likely also violate the school's professionalism code. Professionalism codes deal more generally with the profession's expectations for how the professional will act toward patients, colleagues, and others. For example, Philadelphia's the University of the Sciences maintains in its physical therapy student handbook a professionalism policy incorporating the Code of Ethics of the American Physical Therapy Association. Violations of the Association's Code of Ethics can lead to misconduct charges at the university. The Association's Code of Ethics includes states that physical therapists must respect the inherent dignity and rights of all individuals, be trustworthy and compassionate in addressing the rights and needs of patients, make sound professional judgments, and demonstrate integrity in relationships with patients, colleagues, students, other health care providers, employers, and the public. Title IX sexual misconduct can offend, injure, disrespect, and disrupt these professional relationships, adding professionalism violations to the Title IX violations. Retain national Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento if your Title IX charges include professionalism charges. Get the skilled, experienced, and aggressive defense representation you need to preserve your physical therapy education and career. 

Title IX Sexual Misconduct Procedures 

Fortunately, your physical therapy program will offer you protective procedures if you face Title IX sexual misconduct charges. Federal law, rulesrule, and regulationsregulation guarantee you certain due process protections in Title IX proceedings. National Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skills and experience to strategically deploy those protective procedures in your aggressive and effective defense. Protective procedures are not self-executing. You must invoke those procedures, and you do so best with the representation of experienced Title IX student defense counsel. For example, the University of Southern California's physical therapy program is another top-rated program nationally. Students who face Title IX charges in USC's physical therapy program do so under USC's Title IX Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. For the specifics of the university's Title IX procedures, USC's Title IX policy refers to a separate Resolution Process for Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. Those procedures, typical of the protective procedures at other physical therapy schools, provide for each of these steps at which your retained Title IX defense attorney may provide you with critical assistance: 

  • Complaint to a trained Title IX official who evaluates the complaint for preliminary merit and can dismiss a complaint that fails to allege a Title IX violation; 
  • Intake meetings at which the Title IX official can resolve complaints informally with dismissal or compromise relief; 
  • Where a formal hearing must proceed, written notice to the accused student of the details of the Title IX charges, giving the student the opportunity to evaluate, investigate, and respond; 
  • Investigation interview and report, to which the accused student may comment and respond; 
  • Formal hearing for charges that do not resolve, at which the accused student has the right to review, challenge, and rebut the school's evidence, including to cross-examine adverse witnesses with the help of a retained attorney; 
  • Prompt written decision setting forth the factual findings for the accused student to evaluate, analyze, and challenge; and 
  • Appeals of adverse decisions to an appeal panel or official who will examine the hearing record for bias, conflict of interest, or other irregularity in the proceeding, and to consider newly discovered evidence. 

Invoking Title IX Procedures Through Retained Counsel 

Protective procedures can look and sound great, but you must be sure to timely invoke them and effectively deploy them if they are to do you any good in defending and defeating false Title IX charges. If you don't follow procedures but instead ignore the charges or delay your response to them, your physical therapy program may default you on the charges. You could lose your misconduct proceeding without a hearing and suffer sanctions up to and including dismissal, even if the charges are false, unfair, and unsupported. Retaining a skilled and experienced Title IX student defense attorney relieves you of the concern for finding, following, and effectively using your school's misconduct procedures. College and university students, even bright physical therapy students pursuing doctoral programs, don't generally have knowledge, skill, and experience in dispute-resolution procedures. Nor do physical therapy students know the necessary administrative law, investigation procedures, presentation of evidence, analysis and impeachment of the other side's evidence, and argumentation and advocacy skills. That's why retaining Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is your best move when facing Title IX charges. 

Cross-Examining Adverse Title IX Witnesses 

Attorney cross-examination of adverse witnesses, a right guaranteed under current Title IX due process protections, is among the most powerful of Title IX's protective procedures. Title IX charges often involve sharp he-said, she-said conflicts between the testimony of the complainant and the accused student. When you retain a skilled Title IX student defense attorney to cross-examine your accuser and the school's other witnesses against you, your attorney can expose contradictions and inconsistencies in their testimony. Your attorney can also show when adverse witnesses lack the first-hand knowledge or observation offor the things they conjecture, assume, or guess. Your attorney can also expose when the complainant or complainant's witnesses have biases and conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, witnesses do lie, exaggerate, assume, and make mistakes in their observations and recollections. Skilled cross-examination exposes the weakness of false, exaggerated, and unsupported testimony. When you retain national Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento, you gain a master cross-examiner's skills and experience. 

Title IX Appeals 

Title IX appeals are, like cross-examination, another advocacy art form. If you have already lost your Title IX hearing but have not yet taken an appeal, then retain national Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Title IX defense team to pursue your appeal. Appeals can expose gaps in the school's evidence, where the hearing official or panel incorrectly assumed facts, not in evidence. Appeals can also expose evident bias and conflicts of interest that school disciplinary officials, coordinators, investigators, and decision-makersdecision makers had against the accused student. And if you have discovered new exonerating or mitigating evidence since your Title IX hearing, an appeal can lead to the admission of that new evidence and overturning of the Title IX violations. Appeals require special advocacy skills. Don't risk taking an appeal on your own. Instead, retain attorney Lento and his team to obtain the hearing record, analyze that record, and shape a winning appeal argument. 

Alternative Title IX Relief 

Title IX protective procedures can help you defend and defeat false charges. But don't give up if you have already lost your Title IX proceeding. Some of the best resolutions in school disciplinary proceedings can occur outside of the published procedures. Colleges and universities, including physical therapy programs, routinely have general counsel offices, ombuds offices, or similar oversight bodies to ensure that the school does the right thing in or outside of any proceeding. National Title IX student defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully negotiated with oversight officials in those offices for special alternative relief, preserving the student's education. Sometimes, that relief can come early before the proceeding gets fully underway. But on other occasions, attorney Lento has helped the student gain that relief after the student had exhausted all formal procedures. Attorney Lento has the national reputation, national network, and diplomatic negotiation skills to obtain alternative resolution in many cases. Don't assume that all is lost. Get attorney Lento's help to pursue alternative relief. 

Retain a Premier Title IX Student Defense Attorney 

If you face Title IX sexual misconduct charges in your physical therapy program, whether alone or with non-Title IX sexual misconduct charges or professionalism charges, believe that you can challenge, defend, and defeat false, unfair, or exaggerated charges. Retain national Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your aggressive and effective defense. Attorney Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students nationwide in all sorts of programs, including physical therapy programs, against Title IX and other student misconduct charges. Attorney Lento has the knowledge, skills, and academic administrative experience to put your school's protective procedures to your best strategic defense. Attorney Lento also knows how to negotiate alternative special relief. Don't retain a local criminal defense attorney who lacks the necessary Title IX experience and skill. Instead, get the best available legal representation to preserve your physical therapy education. Call 888-535-3686 for a consultation now, ornow or use the online service. 

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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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