Sexual misconduct allegations can put a massive damper on your college experience, especially if you believe that you did nothing wrong or have been falsely accused. Despite how you may feel about the allegations, they will not go away just because you may perceive them as no big deal. Most college students' gravest mistake is going through the motions in the midst of their school's processes because they rely on their school to find out the truth. But the reality is, if you don't defend yourself, you likely won't receive a favorable outcome. This is why it's important to understand what you're up against as an accused student and recognize the value of an attorney while undergoing sexual misconduct Title IX procedures.
Title IX Processes
Filing a complaint
Schools encourage employees, members of the institution's community and victims of sexual misconduct to file a complaint when if they witness, experience, or receive notice of this behavior. In fact, at Potomac College Washington, responsible employees are obligated to report any perceived instance of sexual misconduct in all of its forms - sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, etc - whether it be through hearsay, or if a student confides in him or her. If alleged victims wish to remain anonymous through a school's processes, he or she may contact a Title IX coordinator and request that their identity be undisclosed.
In a report alleging sexual misconduct, the alleged victim is known as a “complainant,” while accused students are known as “respondents.” When a complaint is filed, certain measures may be taken to protect complainants from retaliation. In order to prevent this from happening, interim measures that keep complainants and respondents out of the same vicinity will be imposed. Depending on the nature of a case, these measures could entail a no-contact order, a respondent's temporary or permanent removal from student housing, the inability to attend communal classes with an accuser, and even a ban from certain parts of campus during the investigative period.
It is the duty of a Title IX coordinator to launch an investigation led by objective parties to find facts that will ultimately help school authorities achieve a prompt and equitable resolution. In an effort to garner enough evidence as possible to get a comprehensive understanding of the details of an incident, interviews with a complainant, respondent, and witnesses will be conducted. Once a finding is drafted and sent to a Title IX coordinator, with his or her expertise, they can determine if it is more than likely that a violation of Title IX occurred. If a violation did not seemingly occur, all measures will be ceased. However, if it is likely that a violation did occur, both parties will be informed and a hearing will be scheduled.
During a hearing, both sides are allocated time to share their account of the alleged sexual misconduct. This includes presenting evidence, making a final statement, and in some cases a cross-examination. Once both sides have finished telling their story, the Board of Governors will determine if a respondent is innocent or guilty.
Students who disagree with a determination and/or sanction have the option of filing an appeal or urge a school to reconsider a decision. An appeal must be submitted within five days containing reasonable grounds. Typically, appeals are only granted when they contain the following elements:
- The decision and/or sanction imposed is not appropriate in light of the nature of a Title IX violation,
- There was a lack of evidence to support the violation of Title IX, or
- New evidence that was not previously accessible would have a significant impact on the final determination/sanction imposed upon a student.
Title IX Advisor
Respondents are permitted to choose anyone they would like to be their advisor. The best person to occupy this position is an attorney. An attorney will be able to help you gather evidence, interview witnesses and present an effective final statement that will best represent your account of events. After all, attorneys do these things for a living and will be able to steer you in the right direction. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping students who have been in your shoes. Contact him today for help.
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 to students facing disciplinary cases in Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help