When Title IX investigators make a mistake in your case, it can have jarring consequences. Identifying these mistakes to ensure they don't occur in your case is important. Here are some common mistakes investigators make when resolving sexual misconduct matters.
The Improper Assessment of Credibility
The assessment of credibility is a nuanced process that extends past the parameters of mere truths and falsehoods. Investigators establish credibility in sexual misconduct cases by weighing the veracity and accuracy of evidence. Properly establishing credibility consists of several fundamental efforts, including a thorough evaluation of the evidence's content, the sources who have provided it, and its soundness in light of other evidence. When all of these factors are deemed strong, credibility is strong. But being provided with very credible evidence in sexual misconduct cases rarely occurs, as most pieces fall in the middle of the spectrum - ranging from 100% percent credibility and absolutely no credibility at all.
The most damning misconception of the process of assessing credibility is that it's perceived as purely truth-finding. Credibility and sincerity aren't identical notions. Both parties may be completely transparent when describing their account of events, yet provide information that doesn't seem too credible, and vice versa. It is the duty of the investigator to distinguish lies from misinterpretations, verify the impact of inconsistencies, and determine if arguable evidence is sufficient enough to establish a policy violation.
Turning a Blind Eye to Personal Biases
Since we're all human beings, we all have biases. However, investigators must not let these biases influence investigations or resolutions. A good investigator identifies their biases and actively works to prevent them from impacting a finding.
Effectively identifying biases and keeping them in check is only accomplished with the development of cultural competence. When one truly understands that their preferences and beliefs are influenced by their respective culture, upbringing, experiences, and environment, one can acknowledge that their perspective is one of many. This is the most pivotal step in the path to putting yourself in other people's shoes and seeing events from other people's perspectives. The failure to take these necessary steps weakens the integrity of the process and leads to unfair determinations and disproportionate sanctions.
Leaving Room for Ambiguity and Assumptions
An investigation is like a puzzle. When it is strategic and appropriately conducted, each piece connects together, leaving very little room for ambiguity. To only gather some parts of information or evidence - due to neglect, discomfort, or a presumptuous approach - is a disservice to all parties involved.
It's incredibly easy for an investigator to misstep in this process. Some may allow witnesses or parties to provide vague answers to questions, while others may refuse to ask the uncomfortable but necessary questions for clarification. An investigation must entail all puzzle pieces be put together for the most accurate and fair finding possible.
Title IX Attorney Helping Clients Nationwide
If you've been accused of violating Title IX at your school, you need the help of a skilled student defense attorney. Contact national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 for help.