If you've been accused of sexual misconduct by your college or university, you can't afford to take it lightly. These cases aren't merely subject to school policy; they're also subject to federal law. In addition, the minimum penalty in these cases is usually suspension; the more likely penalty is expulsion. Students are sometimes surprised by the idea that they might need legal representation. When everything is at risk, though, and mounting a defense requires an understanding of complicated judicial rules and procedures, it only makes sense to have a professional on your side.
In fact, the law gives you the right to an advisor and further gives you the right to choose an attorney as your advisor. Make the most of that right. Make sure you retain a Title IX attorney, someone who knows the law and who has experience representing students in school conduct cases.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
Most sexual misconduct cases at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University Daytona Beach, FL campus are handled under Title IX. That means that preparing to defend yourself begins with understanding this federal law.
Title IX was originally passed in 1972. It prohibited all forms of sexual discrimination and harassment in federally-funded education programs. That includes colleges and universities. Since its initial passage, the law has been updated to include a strict set of guidelines on how schools should go about investigating and adjudicating allegations.
The Embry-Riddle, Daytona Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy offers its own interpretation of the law. Here's a brief overview of what that policy has to say.
- Embry-Riddle, Daytona Beach, like all schools, has a Title IX Coordinator who sets school policy based on the law. In addition, they decide which allegations warrant a formal investigation. Anyone may report knowledge of sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator can sign a formal complaint against you.
- You are entitled to a Notice of the Charges if you are being investigated under Title IX. This notice should provide you with the name of the Complainant as well as details of the allegation.
- Notice of Charges should also apprise you of your other important rights under Title IX. These include,
- The right to equal treatment to the Complainant in all matters
- The right to a presumption of Not Responsible (innocent) until proven Responsible
- The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
- The right to review all evidence in the case
- The right to advanced notification of all meetings and hearings
- The right to investigators and decision-makers who are free of bias
- The Title IX Coordinator appoints the case Investigator. This Investigator meets separately with both sides in the case. In addition, they collect any physical evidence and interview potential witnesses.
- Ultimately, the Investigator completes a written, unbiased summary of their findings. Both sides have ten days to review this document and can suggest revisions to any particular part of it.
- The Investigative Report is forwarded to the Coordinator, who sets a time and date for a formal hearing. They also select a Decision Maker to preside over that hearing.
- At the hearing, you may make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses to testify. In addition, both sides have the right—through your advisors—to cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you.
- Once the hearing is complete, the Decision Maker must determine whether or not you are responsible for a violation. In doing this, they rely on a legal standard known as “Clear and Convincing Evidence.” In simple terms, this standard requires they find you Responsible if they believe it is “substantially likely” that an offense was committed. This is less strict than the more well-known “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” standard.
- Finally, both sides have the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing. Appeals must be filed within five days. In addition, the grounds for appeal are 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
Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct
Not every sexual misconduct incident at Embry-Riddle, Daytona Beach is dealt with using Title IX. The reason why has to do with changes made to the law in 2020. One of the most significant of these changes is that off-campus events are no longer treated as Title IX violations. Like many other schools around the country, Embry-Riddle, Daytona Beach feared that these changes might allow some misconduct to simply slip through the cracks. In response, the school passed new policies and set up new procedures designed specifically to deal with these so-called “Non-Title IX” incidents.
Embry-Riddle, Dayton Beach's procedures in these cases, as outlined in its Sexual Misconduct Policy, bears many similarities to Title IX procedures, particularly when it comes to the investigative phase of these cases. For instance, students have the right to a presumption of “Not Responsible”; they have the right to an advisor, who may be an attorney; and they have the right to Notice of the Charges.
However, there is one crucial difference between the two sets of procedures. Respondents in non-Title IX cases have no opportunity to defend themselves at a formal hearing. Instead, once the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator makes a unilateral decision about the Respondent's level of responsibility.
How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?
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. What does that mean? It 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. It means 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, it means 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.