Sexual Misconduct Charges at Idaho State University

There are few charges a university student can face more serious than sexual misconduct. Just how serious are these charges? Usually, the minimum penalty in such cases is suspension. The more likely punishment if you should be found responsible? Expulsion. Of course, your school can't send you to prison, but expulsion can mean the end of your academic career, and in some cases, that's almost as bad.

Luckily, there's help available if you should find yourself charged. At Idaho State University, you're entitled to an advisor who may assist you in preparing your case and accompany you to all meetings and proceedings. Even better, that advisor can be an attorney. You want to make the most of this right, though. A family or local attorney just won't do. They don't know the complicated procedures in these cases, and they're not used to working with campus administration. You need Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

Idaho State University handles almost all of its sexual misconduct cases using guidelines set forth under Title IX. Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment at any federally-funded college or university.

You can read about ISU's interpretation of the law under the school's Policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Non-discrimination. There, you'll find a complete description of how the judicial process works at the school.

  • First, you should know that Idaho State has a designated Title IX Coordinator. Anyone at the school may report you for misconduct, but only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign a formal complaint against you.
  • If the Coordinator does sign a complaint against you, you are entitled to Notice of the Charges, which should include the name of the Complainant and details about the allegation.
  • The Notice of Charges should also apprise you of your other important rights under Title IX. These include
    • The right to be treated equally to the Complainant in all matters
    • The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
    • The right to be presumed “Not Responsible” (innocent)
    • The right to advanced notice of any and all meetings or proceedings
    • The right to review all evidence in the case
    • The right to Investigators and Decision-Makers who are free of bias
  • The Coordinator is also responsible for appointing an Investigator to gather the facts of the case.
  • The Investigator meets separately with both sides in the case. You can bring your attorney to these meetings. In addition, the Investigator is tasked with collecting any physical evidence and interviewing witnesses.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator writes an unbiased summary of their findings. Both sides have the right to review this document and to suggest any necessary revisions.
  • Ultimately, the Investigative Report is forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator then sets a time and date for a live hearing and appoints a Decision-Maker to oversee the proceedings.
  • At the hearing, both sides have an opportunity to present their cases. You may offer arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses to testify. You may also cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you. However, only advisors may conduct cross-examination.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Decision-Maker determines your level of responsibility. They make this decision using a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” Far less strict than “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt,” “Preponderance of Evidence” requires they find you “Responsible” if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense.
  • You may appeal the hearing decision. However, you have just seven business days from the end of the hearing to do so. In addition, there are only three grounds for appeal:
    • Procedural irregularity
    • New evidence that has a bearing on the outcome
    • Conflict of interest on the part of a Title IX official

Non-Title IX Cases

Almost all sexual misconduct cases at Idaho State are Title IX cases, but not all. As of 2020, Title IX no longer applies to off-campus incidents or incidents that occur when students are outside the country. Most schools, including ISU, have adopted their own judicial procedures to handle these “Non-Title IX” allegations.

Of course, because these cases aren't subject to the law, schools are free to use any procedures they choose to investigate and adjudicate accusations. In addition, they are under no obligation to provide respondents with any particular due process rights.

In fact, ISU's procedures, detailed under “Process B” of the Policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Non-discrimination, are quite different from its Title IX procedures. Perhaps the most significant difference has to do with how these cases are decided. Students are granted no right to defend themselves at a formal hearing. Instead, after a preliminary investigation, a Decision Maker reviews the Investigative Report and renders a decision. That decision is subject to appeal, but as with Title IX, the grounds for appeal are strictly limited.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Whether you're facing Title IX or non-Title IX charges, it's important you recognize that defending yourself will be an uphill battle. You're used to your school being on your side; now, it has the burden of proving your guilt. Rules and procedures are complicated and difficult to navigate. The Complainant will likely have a lawyer, and the school may retain its own counsel as well. You don't want to go into one of these cases alone. You want the very best representation you can find.

Joseph D. Lento built his career defending students just like you from sexual misconduct charges. Joseph D. Lento knows the law. 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 has experience fighting 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 act. 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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