Sexual Misconduct Charges at the University of West Georgia

If you've been accused of sexual misconduct—even if you just think you might be accused of sexual misconduct—you need to begin preparing your defense now. That means finding out everything you possibly can about how your university deals with these cases, and it means finding a skilled, experienced Title IX attorney to represent you.

You might be asking why you need an attorney at all, let alone one who specializes in these kinds of cases. After all, you're just facing an investigation from your school, right? How bad could it be? The fact is, sexual misconduct is subject to federal law. Your school is virtually required to investigate all allegations, no matter how spurious, and they must follow federal guidelines in doing so. Further, if you're found “responsible” (guilty), you're very likely facing expulsion.

You can expect your accuser will have an attorney, and while your school is supposed to conduct an unbiased investigation, they generally side with accusers. You need someone on your side who knows the law and understands exactly how colleges and universities apply it.

Title IX Sexual Misconduct

The University of West Georgia handles most sexual misconduct allegations using rules set out in Title IX. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination at all federally funded educational institutions. In addition, it mandates exactly how schools must investigate and adjudicate all cases.

UWG follows the University System of Georgia Sexual Misconduct Policy in interpreting how to apply Title IX. Here's how the judicial process is supposed to work.

  • UWG must have a designated Title IX Coordinator. Anyone may report you for sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (the alleged victim) or the Coordinator may file an official complaint against you.
  • Once a complaint is filed, the school must provide you with written notice of the charges against you. This notice should include the name of the Complainant as well as details about the allegation.
  • Under Title IX, you have a number of important rights, including the right to an advisor, the right to be presumed “not responsible” (not guilty), the right to review all evidence in the case, and the right to advanced notice of all meetings and proceedings.
  • The Title IX Coordinator appoints an Investigator to conduct a full review of the facts in the case. This individual should meet regularly with both sides throughout the investigation. In addition, they collect any physical evidence and interview any witnesses.
  • At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator completes a written report summarizing their findings. This report should be unbiased, and both sides have the right to ask for revisions to anything they disagree with.
  • Once the Coordinator receives the Investigative Report, they set a date and time for an official, live hearing. In addition, they appoint a panel of Decision Makers to preside over the case.
  • Both sides have the right to present evidence and call witnesses. In addition, you may cross-examine each other and any witnesses against you. However, only advisors may conduct these examinations. If you do not have an advisor, the school must provide one, though they are under no obligation to provide you with an attorney.
  • Finally, you have the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing. However, the grounds on which you may do so are limited to the discovery of new evidence, accusations of procedural error, or the assertion that the facts do not support the decision.

Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct

In 2020, the Trump administration substantially revised Title IX procedures. Among other changes, the administration limited schools' jurisdictional authority and narrowed the definitions of “discrimination” and “harassment.” Many schools, including UWG, protested, arguing that some incidents might now fall through the cracks. For instance, sexual misconduct at off-campus sites is no longer covered by the law.

Ultimately, UWG responded by instituting its own university policies to handle these “non-Title IX” cases. It's important to note that, because these cases aren't subject to federal law, the school is under no obligation to follow any particular procedures or to provide respondents with any particular due process rights.

Luckily, UWG has chosen to keep both processes roughly the same. That is, investigations and hearings happen in the same basic ways. Respondents are entitled to the same basic rights. Cases are decided using the same basic principles.

There is one important exception, however. While advisors can participate in Title IX proceedings and are required to conduct all cross-examination, they may only advise their clients in non-Title IX cases. They may not participate directly in meetings or hearings, and though both sides may submit questions, all examination is actually conducted by the hearing panel.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Make no mistake: everything is on the line in a sexual misconduct case. If you're found responsible, the minimum penalty you're likely to face is suspension, and the more probable punishment is expulsion. That essentially means the end of your academic career. Few schools are willing to admit an applicant who already has a sexual offense on their record.

Sexual misconduct defenses are complicated. The law is difficult to navigate, and the rules don't always favor the accused. You aren't just dealing with your school's justice system; you're dealing with rules laid down by Congress. You need the very best help you can get.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just a 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're taking this situation seriously, you need the best help you can get. You need Joseph D. Lento.

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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