Receiving a notice that you are being accused of sexual misconduct can be very confusing. You may not know what to expect or where to turn. What are the next steps? Who do you contact about these allegations? Will the school protect you? And what are the future consequences you may face if you are found to have committed sexual misconduct? Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent years helping college students around the country who have been accused of sexual misconduct navigate the investigation, hearing, and appeals process. Additionally, Attorney Lento is a graduate of Temple University's Beasley School of Law, he handled his first Title IX case at Temple in his first year of practice as an attorney, and since that time, he has handled countless Title IX cases at his alma mater. As he does day in and day out whether at Temple or across the United States, Attorney Lento will work tirelessly to help mitigate any negative consequences you may face by creating a strategic defense that ensures the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a Lento Law Firm consultation.
Title IX and Temple University
Title IX is a federal regulation that establishes a certain guideline that all federally funded colleges and universities must maintain when overseeing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These standards include:
- Clear and immediate procedures for sexual misconduct allegations
- Designated personnel to handle instances of sexual violence
- In Title IX hearings, the standard of evidence should be “more likely than not” or “preponderance of evidence”
- Both parties involved should have access to the same procedures – advisors, appeals, and presentation of the evidence
- Retaliation protection
At Temple University, they have established a Title IX office that ensures students, faculty, and staff have equal access to educational opportunities and on-campus activities, free of discrimination on the basis of sex. They define sexual misconduct as sexual assault and gender-based discrimination, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, harassment, and stalking.
Temple University's Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Actions
Temple University allows any person, regardless of whether they are the victim or a witness, to file a formal allegation of sexual misconduct. These formal complaints will be investigated by properly trained investigators. They will meet with the parties and others to gather evidence and information about the incident. The University will provide you with written notice of these interviews, hearings, or other meetings they decide to hold during this process.
You are allowed to have an advisor by your side during this time who will help you go through the evidence provided by the complainant so you may build a strategic defense to these allegations. After reviewing the evidence, you and the complainant will attend a hearing where you can present relevant evidence and witnesses and question each other's witnesses. If you or your witnesses choose not to answer a question, the hearing board can rely on any statement that the other party or another witness makes on the subject. Having an attorney-advisor at your side during this process is invaluable when determining what questions to answer and what to leave alone.
After the University hears both sides, they will make their determination on whether you have performed an act of sexual misconduct. If you have, they will lay out specific sanctions you must face.
Appealing Sexual Misconduct Sanctions
It is important to remember that no matter the determination of the University, you have the right to appeal, but you must do so within 10 days of finding out their decision.
To appeal, you must find that there has been either:
- A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the case;
- There is new evidence now that was not reasonably present at the time the determination was made that could affect the outcome of the case; and/or
- The Title IX coordinator, their designated investigator, and/or the hearing board had some sort of conflict of interest or bias for the complainant or against yourself.
Additionally, this appeal must be written and delivered to the Student Conduct Board. After another investigation into the appeal, the Board will issue the result of the appeal, and their rationale for the decision, to both you and the complainant simultaneously. Once the appeal is addressed, the determination is final.
Consequences for Sexual Misconduct Allegations and Sanctions
If the hearing board determines that it is more likely than not that you committed sexual misconduct, they will administer sanctions. Sanctions will vary based on the severity of the incident but may include probation, psycho-educational counseling, suspension, or expulsion. Additional sanctions may include limiting your access to campus to help the victim or complainant avoid you or changing your dormitory to ensure your paths do not cross.
Do not be deluded by Temple's representation that a finding of responsibility may include sanctions ranging from a warning up to expulsion. If a respondent is found responsible for sexual misconduct, regardless of the nature of the offense, suspension is generally the baseline sanction imposed. If the offense is more serious in nature and/or if there are aggravating factors, expulsion will be the likely outcome.
Unfortunately, sexual misconduct allegations alone, and all potential sanctions, whether lesser or more serious, will carry some form of long-term consequences. For example, being accused of sexual misconduct alone can cause some teachers and students to hold a bias against you, inhibiting your ability to move freely around campus or classroom, negatively impacting your way of life as a college student. Further, if you are suspended or expelled, those sanctions will follow you around from college to graduate school. Sanctions of this nature can literally haunt a student for the rest of their life. Expulsion notices on their own tend to strongly deter other colleges from offering you admission, but expulsion for sexual misconduct will make it near impossible to attend another college and can mar your employment reputation as well, making it hard to find gainful employment.
How a Title IX Attorney-Advisor Can Help
The consequences explained above can have disastrous effects on your life moving forward. Working with an attorney advisor can help mitigate these negative consequences and preserve the life you've been dreaming about since you started college. Attorney Joseph D. Lento works tirelessly to ensure his clients receive the best possible outcome for their case by reviewing the evidence and witness testimony and creating a strategic defense that will ensure the University is upholding your rights. Sexual misconduct allegations are serious accusations with serious potential punishments. You do not want to weather this storm alone. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation or visit him online. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are here to help.