Whether you've already received word from your university that they will be investigating you for sexual misconduct or you're worried that this will happen in your future, you need to be ready to protect your rights.
Why? Most American universities—including Penn State—are currently cracking down on all cases of sexual misconduct. In fact, if they receive money from the United States government, American universities must investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct quickly, as stated in federal law Title IX.
What does this mean for you? Unfortunately, your school has an incentive to close your case quickly—not necessarily to pursue justice or the most successful end for you. A sexual misconduct allegation could easily lead to lifelong repercussions for you, and you may not have much support from your school.
That's where the Lento Law Firm can help. Here's what you need to know.
Title IX, Recent Changes, and Penn State
Title IX is a federal regulation that most recently received an update in August of 2020. However, with each new administration, Title IX tends to receive new interpretations—making it inherently difficult to stay on your toes when it comes to understanding each nuance of Title IX.
Many American schools feel similarly, and have dual sexual misconduct policies in effect as a result. One includes language that pertains to Title IX governance; the other includes more general regulations for adjudicating sexual misconduct.
Under Title IX, every school that receives federal funding must have quick, clearly-defined measures for handling sexual misconduct, a designated Title IX Coordinator, and equally accessible resources (e.g., appeals and advisors) for all involved parties. At Penn State, this information is contained in the school's sexual harassment policy.
Penn State's Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policies
Under Penn State's legislation, the following actions will net students punitive measures:
- Unwelcome conduct that is severe and objectively offensive
- Quid pro quo harassment
- Sexual assault, or any non-consensual sexual act
- Dating violence, or any situation in which a person who enjoys a social, romantic, or intimate relationship with another commits a violent act against that person
- Domestic violence, or any situation in which a person who is a current or former intimate partner or spouse of another commits a violent act against that person
- Stalking, or any situation in which one person engages in actions directed at any other person that causes the victim to fear for their safety or to undergo emotional distress
These are not the only activities that will trigger a sexual misconduct or Title IX investigation, as the university will see fit to investigate whenever it learns that one of its students may be experiencing unsafe activities.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct?
Once Penn State learns about potential misconduct, the school will work with the person making the allegation (or the complainant) to determine the next steps. The three available options are a request for no action, an informal resolution, or an investigation. Penn State will review requests for no action, and informal resolutions typically involve restorative, non-punitive measures.
An investigation will include an evidence-gathering process, a formal hearing, a disciplinary recommendation from the university, and a short period of time in which the allegedly guilty party (or the respondent) can appeal the university's decision. Unless new information comes to light, disciplinary recommendations are typically final. Punitive measures can range from a written warning to probation, suspension, and dismissal.
As harsh as these seem, it's later that you'll experience the true repercussions. Your future employers and schools will find out about this, which will make your future much more difficult than it needs to be.
How an Experienced Student Defense Attorney Advisor Can Help You
You may wonder if accepting your school's offer of an advisor is a good idea. It isn't. Student defense is a niche part of the law, requiring extremely targeted experience. A school-appointed advisors will not have this experience. Additionally, when push comes to shove, your school's advisor will always be loyal to your school. This can be fairly inconvenient during your adjudicative process, to say the least.
An empathetic, experienced student defense attorney has helped students in your precise position protect their futures. Your advisor will be able to help you go through your school's documents, prepare for hearings, put together strategic appeals, and more.
Most importantly, a student defense attorney will be there for you (and only you) throughout this stressful time. You need to take action now to make sure you don't experience lifelong ramifications from this one event. That's why you need to give the Lento Law Firm a call.
Call a National Expert in Title IX Sexual Misconduct Cases. Call Attorney Joseph D. Lento
As you go through your school's codes of conduct and the scary sexual misconduct notifications that your school has sent you, it's easy to get overwhelmed. You might feel confused, scared, and frustrated. This is completely understandable.
It's also avoidable. At the Lento Law Firm, we want to remind you that you don't have to tackle this alone. Save yourself from the stress of navigating your school's disciplinary system solo, and call a practiced sexual misconduct and student defense attorney to come to your aid.
Joseph D. Lento is exactly what you need. Joseph D. Lento has assisted students in the fight against hundreds of Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. He will be empathetic, efficient, and aggressive when helping you present the best possible defense. He has specific skill understanding complex school disciplinary procedures, and he can help you put together strategic, persuasive arguments for your innocence.
Don't fight this alone. Call Joseph D. Lento in to help you protect your future.
Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or use our online form to reach out today.