Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix

You can never truly prepare yourself to face a sexual misconduct allegation. Someone you know and trusted, maybe even loved, has accused you of something terrible. That is always going to come as a shock.

You can, however, plan how you're going to deal with the situation should it ever happen. In fact, it's always a good idea to have a plan. Hopefully, you'll never have to use it, but having it ensures you can never be caught off guard. And let's face it: when you're overwhelmed by a misconduct charge, the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out what you're supposed to be doing.

How do you make this plan? First, you find out everything you can about how your school deals with these cases. Don't wait until it happens. Do it now. How do investigations work? What do hearings look like? What sanctions could you face if you're found “Responsible” (guilty)?

Then, you find out how to get help if you ever find yourself in this situation because you can't handle this all on your own. You're going to need a Title IX attorney.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

Most sexual misconduct cases at the Arizona State University, Phoenix Downtown campus are handled using rules and procedures set forth under the federal government's Title IX statute. Title IX, passed in 1972, prohibits all forms of sexual discrimination and harassment on college campuses. In addition to this general prohibition, it mandates exactly how schools must conduct investigations and adjudications of allegations.

The Title IX guidelines run to some 550 pages. ASU, Downtown Phoenix maintains its own version of these guidelines. Though shorter, it is quite long as well and can be difficult to follow. Here's a brief outline, in less than two pages, of what you can expect if you're ever accused.

  • All colleges and universities have a designated Title IX Coordinator. This person sets school policy and evaluates all allegations to decide whether or not they warrant investigation. Only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint against you.
  • Title IX guarantees you a number of important due process rights. For one thing, you're entitled to written notification of any charges filed against you. That notification must include the name of the Complainant as well as details about the allegation, information that can be crucial to preparing your defense. In addition, you have the right to be treated as “Not Responsible” (innocent) until proven “Responsible” (guilty); you have the right to unbiased investigators and decision-makers; and you have the right to review all evidence in the case.
  • The Coordinator is also responsible for appointing an Investigator to compile facts in the case.
  • Investigators usually start by meeting separately with both parties. This offers you a chance to give your side of the story. In addition, they gather any physical evidence and interview potential witnesses.
  • At the end of the investigation, the Investigator produces a written report summarizing their findings. This report must be unbiased, and you have the right to request a revision to anything in it you disagree with.
  • Ultimately, the Investigative Report becomes the basis for the next phase of the case: a live hearing. Once they've received it, the Coordinator sets a time and date for this hearing and appoints a Hearing Officer to oversee the proceedings.
  • The hearing offers you a chance to present your entire case, including arguments, evidence, and witness testimony. The Complainant has the same opportunity. In addition, you may—through your advisors—cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you.
  • Once the hearing is complete, the Hearing Officer must come to a decision as to whether or not you are responsible for a violation. In arriving at this decision, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” This standard is far less strict than “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Basically, it requires decision-makers find you responsible if they are more than fifty percent convinced you committed an offense.
  • You have the right to appeal the hearing outcome. However, appeals must be filed within fifteen business days of receiving Notification of the Outcome. In addition, grounds for appeal are strictly limited to
    • Procedural irregularity
    • New evidence that has a bearing on the outcome
    • Conflict of interest on the part of a Title IX official
    • Finding not justified by the evidence
    • Sanction too severe for the nature of the offense

Non-Title IX Cases

Not every sexual misconduct case at Arizona State, Downtown Phoenix is subject to Title IX. In 2020, the law changed, and off-campus and overseas incidents are not covered under the law. In response to this change, most schools, including ASU, Downtown Phoenix, instituted their own policies to ensure these so-called “Non-Title IX” allegations would still be dealt with through some disciplinary procedure.

At ASU, Downtown Phoenix, non-Title IX cases are part of the school's Student Code of Conduct and thus subject to the same kind of procedures as any other disciplinary violation, such as underage drinking or vandalism.

The most important difference between the Title IX and Non-Title IX processes is that the latter does not automatically entitle you to defend yourself at a hearing. Instead, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities decides the case after it concluded its investigation. You do, however, have the right to request a hearing into the matter if you disagree with the OSRR's determination.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

By this point, you should already have some idea of why you need help with your sexual misconduct case. Whether you are dealing with a Title IX or non-Title IX allegation, procedures are complex. In addition, everything about your future is at stake. If you should lose your case, the minimum penalty is suspension. The more likely penalty is expulsion. In all likelihood, that means the end of your academic career.

Don't risk it. Know what you're up against, and make sure you have the best help you can find.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney, but he's not just a defense attorney. He's what's known as a Title IX attorney. What does that mean? Joseph D. Lento built his career defending students just like you from sexual misconduct charges. He knows the law inside and out. He's studied the Title IX statute and is comfortable working under both Title IX and non-Title IX procedures. In addition, Joseph D. Lento knows how schools operate. He knows the tactics they use, and he knows how to deal with those tactics. Most importantly, Joseph D. Lento is on your side. He understands what you're going through. 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 will happen. The school is already building its case. You should be too. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

Contact Us Today!

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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