If you're a college student facing an allegation of sexual misconduct, you're likely feeling a complex mix of emotions. You've been taken by surprise. Someone you know, someone you may even be close to, has leveled a difficult accusation at you. You may be angry. You don't know what's coming next. What will an investigation look like? Will you have a chance to defend yourself? What could happen if you're ultimately found “responsible”?
You'll find answers to a lot of these questions here. More than anything else, though, you need to know that you can get through this. It won't be easy, but you're smart and capable, and you have the truth on your side.
You also don't have to go through this experience alone. The law gives you the right to an advisor and the right to choose an advisor who is an attorney. At the Law Offices of Joseph D. Lento, we have vast experience with student misconduct cases. We're on your side, and we're committed to making sure you're treated fairly and that you get the best possible resolution to your case.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
Campbellsville University handles sexual misconduct allegations using guidelines set down by the federal government's Title IX statute. Title IX, originally passed in 1972, prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment in all federally funded education programs, including colleges and universities. In addition, it provides a strict set of rules and procedures for how schools must go about investigating accusations. Knowing these rules and procedures, and how to use them to your benefit, is crucial to successfully defending yourself.
CU has developed its own interpretation of Title IX as part of its overall Sexual Misconduct Policy. Here are the highlights of that policy:
- CU has a designated Title IX Coordinator. Anyone at the school may report you for sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator can sign a formal complaint against you.
- Once the school opens an investigation, you're entitled to a Notice of the Charges. As part of this notice, you must be told the name of the Complainant and the details of the allegation, information vital to building your case.
- Title IX grants you a number of other important rights as well. Among these, you have the right to:
- Equal treatment to the Complainant in all matters
- An advisor, who may be an attorney
- Advanced notification of all meetings and hearings
- Review all evidence in the case
- Investigators and decision-makers who are free of bias
- A presumption of Not Responsible (innocent) until proven Responsible
- At CU, the Coordinator may appoint an Investigator to gather evidence in the case, or they may conduct the investigation themselves.
- The Investigator meets separately with both sides of the case. In addition, they interview witnesses and collect any physical evidence, such as dorm logs, video, text messages, and clothing.
- Once they've completed the investigation, the Investigator compiles their findings into an unbiased Investigative Report. Both sides have ten days to review this document and suggest revisions to anything they disagree with.
- Ultimately, the Investigative Report is forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator and becomes the central piece of evidence in the hearing. Once the Coordinator has received this document, they set a time and date for that hearing and appoint one or more Decision Makers to oversee the proceedings.
- At the hearing itself, you may present evidence and call witnesses to testify on your behalf. In addition, you may cross-examine the Complainant and any witnesses against you. However, your advisor must conduct all cross-examination. The Complainant has the same rights in presenting their case.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Decision Maker(s) deliberate as to your level of responsibility in the case. In making their decision, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” According to this standard, they must find you Responsible if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense.
- Finally, you have the right under Title IX to appeal the hearing outcome. However, grounds for appeal are strictly limited to:
- The discovery of new evidence that has a direct bearing on the case outcome
- Procedural errors that may have affected the outcome
- Bias on the part of a Title IX official
It is worth knowing that not every accusation of sexual misconduct is subject to a Title IX investigation. In 2020, the federal government issued new guidelines restricting how the law is implemented. Among the changes, off-campus incidents are no longer covered under Title IX.
However, Campbellsville University's policy notes that such incidents will be reported to law enforcement where applicable.
How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?
Sexual misconduct accusations are serious business. The minimum penalty in such cases is typically suspension. The more likely penalty is expulsion. You should know that expulsion usually includes a transcript notation about the reason for your dismissal. That will keep most other schools from admitting you. In other words, if you're found Responsible, your academic career could be over.
Meanwhile, it's no easy matter crafting a solid defense. It requires an intimate knowledge of Title IX and experience dealing with campus judicial procedures. The bottom line is you can't handle this situation alone. You need help, and you need the best help you can get.
Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just a defense attorney, though. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a Title IX attorney. Here's what that means: Joseph D. Lento built his career defending students just like you from sexual misconduct charges. He has studied the law and knows it inside and out. In addition, Joseph D. Lento knows how schools operate. He knows the tactics they often use, and he knows how to counter those tactics. Most importantly, though, Joseph D. Lento is on your side. He understands what you're going through, and he'll do everything he can to make sure you're treated fairly and that you get the best possible resolution to your case.
If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to see what the school or the other side will do. Begin building your case now. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.