Sexual Misconduct Charges at Pace University

If you're a college student who's been accused of sexual misconduct, the very first thing you need to know is that you can't handle this situation yourself. Yes, you're bright and you're capable, but you're facing the weight of your school, not to mention the federal government.

Title IX says that any school that receives federal funding must investigate all credible accusations of sexual discrimination and harassment. Schools take that mandate very seriously. If you're found responsible for a violation, suspension is probably the minimum penalty. The more likely penalty is expulsion. Keep in mind that expulsion often includes a transcript notation about the nature of your offense. You'll find few schools out there are willing to take a chance on an applicant who's already been dismissed for a Title IX violation.

Luckily, you don't have to handle this situation all on your own. In most cases, you have the right to an advisor—someone to help you build your defense—and that person can be an attorney. Keep in mind, though, that you don't want just any attorney. A local attorney, for instance, might wind up doing more harm than good. You need someone on your side who knows the law and who has experience handling campus disciplinary cases. You need a Title IX attorney.

Title IX Sexual Misconduct

Pace University handles all of its sexual misconduct cases using rules set down by Title IX. Those rules describe exactly how schools must go about the process of investigating and adjudicating allegations.

Here's what Pace University's Sex-Based and Non Sex-Based Policy and Procedure has to say about how the school interprets Title IX guidelines.

  • PU must have a Title IX Coordinator. This individual sets school policy regarding sexual conduct and makes decisions about whether an accusation warrants an official investigation.
  • Anyone on campus may report knowledge of sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint against you.
  • If the Coordinator does open an investigation against you, they must provide you with notice of the charges. This notice should include the name of the Complainant as well as all relevant details about the accusation.
  • Title IX guarantees you several important rights. These include
    • The right to be presumed “not responsible” (innocent) until proven “responsible” (guilty)
    • The right to an advisor, who may be an attorney
    • The right to be treated equally to the Complainant in all matters
    • The right to review all evidence against you
    • The right to present evidence and suggest witnesses
    • The right to advanced notice of all meetings and proceedings in the case
    • The right to be investigated and adjudicated by non-biased individuals
  • At Pace University, the Coordinator may serve as the case Investigator, or they may appoint an Investigator.
  • The Investigator meets separately with both parties. In addition, they collect any physical evidence and interview any witnesses to the alleged incident.
  • Once the Investigation is complete, the Investigator writes an unbiased summary of their findings. This will become the foundation for the hearing to follow.
  • Both sides have the right to review the Investigative Report and suggest revisions before it is forwarded back to the Coordinator.
  • Once they receive the Investigative Report, the Coordinator must set a date and time for a live hearing.
  • At PU, the Dean of Students serves as the Hearing Officer and Decision Maker at the hearing.
  • At the hearing, both sides may make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses. In addition, you may—through your advisors—cross-examine each other and any other witnesses against you.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Decision Maker must determine your level of responsibility in the matter. To do this, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” According to this standard, they are required to find you responsible if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense.
  • Either side may appeal the outcome within five days of being notified of that outcome. However, grounds for appeal are limited to
    • Procedural irregularity
    • New evidence
    • Bias or conflict of interest
    • Finding is not consistent with the facts
    • Sanction is disproportionate to the offense.

It's worth knowing that not all sexual misconduct is covered under Title IX. In 2020, the Trump administration narrowed the definitions of “discrimination” and “harassment” and placed new limits on schools' jurisdictional authority. Some incidents, such as those occurring off-campus, were no longer subject to the law. Most schools, including Pace University, responded by re-writing their own school policies to deal with these so-called “non-Title IX” offenses.

Because these allegations are not subject to federal law, schools are free to use any procedures they choose to investigate and adjudicate them. They are not required to follow any particular rules or to give respondents any particular due process rights.

Pace University, however, has chosen to use the same processes in both types of cases.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

It should already be clear by this point why you need an attorney to help you with your case. It's no exaggeration to say that your entire future is at stake. Judicial procedures are complex and difficult to navigate. In today's political climate, no school wants to be seen as soft on sex offenses, so you can expect your school to favor the Complainant.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just any defense attorney, though. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a Title IX attorney. That means he specializes in handling campus sexual misconduct cases. Joseph D. Lento has dedicated his career to fighting for student rights. Over the years, he has handled hundreds of cases for students just like you, making sure they're treated fairly and that they get the justice they deserve.

If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to act. The school is already preparing its case. You should be too. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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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