If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at your South Carolina school, you probably don't know where to turn. A sexual misconduct allegation can literally derail someone's educational career and all of their future plans. These types of allegations aren't things that schools take lightly. They move on them immediately to make sure that some sort of justice is delivered. If they don't, they face heavy scrutiny and open themselves up to bigger issues down the road.
For this reason, you need to take a sexual misconduct allegation made against you at South Carolina schools seriously. It's not something that you can address alone. There are statutes and laws on the books that dictate how these types of allegations must be handled by schools. You need to get experienced legal help from a law firm with experience dealing with these types of cases. The issue that makes these cases so difficult to deal with is that they are completely wrapped up in something called Title IX.
What Is Title IX?
In 1972, the federal government passed a law called Title IX. The purpose of this law is to eradicate sexual discrimination at US schools, including colleges, universities, K-12 schools, etc. Title IX is the law that schools use when they investigate sexual misconduct allegations.
The reason it is absolutely critical that you get legal help for these types of allegations is that the details of these laws are constantly in flux depending on the US administration that's in office at the time. Changes in procedures could put more pressure on the defendant or the complainant, depending on what those changes are.
Because these laws are constantly changing, you need someone on board who is up to date with the absolute latest information regarding Title IX guidelines and procedures. The tiniest change can make a huge impact on your case. You not only want to get legal help, but you need to get legal help from a law firm that has heavy experience with Title IX cases.
What Are the Steps in Title IX Cases?
When the complainant makes a report, that plaintiff goes to a school's Title IX coordinator. The complainant or the coordinator will sign the complaint.
Once the complaint is officially registered, the timeline coordinator will reach out to the respondent, letting them know about the allegations. The respondent will learn who the complainant is, and they'll learn the exact details of the allegations. They'll also be told that there will be a presumption that they're “not responsible” until the case has been decided. This is the point where they'll be told to choose an advisor if they haven't done so already.
Again, this is the point where you need to reach out to a legal advisor. They will be able to go over the details of the complaint with you and help you plan your defense. Even tiny, seemingly insignificant details of the complaint may have clues in them that may help you, but you'd only know that if you're working with someone who knows what to look out for.
After everyone has been notified, the Title IX coordinator will select an investigator who will be responsible for looking into the charges of the case. The investigator will meet with both the complainant and the respondent, gathering every detail of their stories. In addition to interviewing both parties, the investigator will also meet with any witnesses that both sides have, and they will collect any evidence that they submit.
After all of the evidence has been collected and everyone has been interviewed, the investigator will write a report of their findings. Before this final report goes back to the Title IX coordinator, both the respondent and the complainant will have an opportunity to look at the report and make suggestions for any changes. Once this process is over, and the document has been finalized, it goes back to the Title IX coordinator.
Once the coordinator has the report, the decision-making process begins. This can be done via a live hearing at the college or university level. Live hearings are allowed at the K-12 level, but they're not required. In those cases, the Title IX coordinator can assign a single decision-maker who will make a decision.
If you decide to go to the live hearing process, it is extremely critical that you bring your legal advisor. Both parties are allowed to bring their advisors along with any witnesses. The advisors are allowed to cross-examine the other side's witnesses and examine the evidence. This is another reason that you want an experienced Title IX attorney on your side who knows how to handle the hearing process, knows what questions to ask, and who can help you build the best defense possible.
When the final decision is being made, the decision-makers have to consider the evidence and base their decisions on a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means that they only need to be a little over 50% convinced that the allegations are true. That percentage shows you why it's so important to make sure that you have legal support on your side that can help you present the right evidence to support your case. Doing it on your own could be a disaster.
Once a decision is made, both sides can appeal the ruling within ten days of the decision. An appeal can only be made if new evidence has been discovered, if there was a mistake in the way Title IX procedures were applied during the hearing, or if it turns out that one or more of the decision-makers in the process had a particular bias for or against the complainant or the respondent. An experienced Title IX attorney can help you figure it all out.
Does It Matter?
The absolute worst thing that you can do is to assume that none of these matters. Your entire school career could be estate. Some schools may intimate that penalties can include suspensions, but many of them will expel students convicted of sexual misconduct. A sexual misconduct conviction goes on your permanent record, making it extremely difficult for you when you're trying to apply to other schools, graduate schools, or jobs. Even if you think that the allegation against you is pretty light, do not take it lightly. Act as if your life depends on it. Because it does.
Reach out for help at 888-535-3686 today to schedule an evaluation of your case. Your future may depend on it.
South Carolina colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Aiken Technical College
- Allen University
- Anderson University
- Benedict College
- Bob Jones University
- Brown Mackie College Greenville
- Central Carolina Technical College
- Charleston Southern University
- Citadel Military College of South Carolina
- Claflin University
- Clemson University
- Clinton Junior College
- Coastal Carolina University
- Coker College
- College of Charleston
- Columbia College
- Columbia International University
- Converse College
- Denmark Technical College
- Erskine College and Seminary
- Florence Darlington Technical College
- Forrest College
- Francis Marion University
- Furman University
- Golf Academy of America Myrtle Beach
- Greenville Technical College
- Horry Georgetown Technical College
- ITT Technical Institute Columbia
- ITT Technical Institute Greenville
- ITT Technical Institute Myrtle Beach
- ITT Technical Institute North Charleston
- Lander University
- Limestone College
- Medix School Fortis College
- Midlands Technical College
- Miller Motte Technical College
- Miller Motte Technical College North Charleston
- Morris College
- Newberry College
- North Greenville University
- Northeastern Technical College
- Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College
- Piedmont Technical College
- Presbyterian College
- South Carolina State University
- South University Columbia
- Southern Wesleyan University
- Spartanburg Community College
- Spartanburg Methodist College
- Technical College of the Lowcountry
- The Art Institute of Charleston
- Tri County Technical College
- Trident Technical College
- University of Phoenix Columbia Campus
- University of South Carolina Aiken
- University of South Carolina Beaufort
- University of South Carolina Columbia
- University of South Carolina Lancaster
- University of South Carolina Salkehatchie
- University of South Carolina Sumter
- University of South Carolina Union
- University of South Carolina Upstate
- Virginia College
- Virginia College in Charleston
- Virginia College Columbia
- Virginia College Greenville
- Voorhees College
- W L Bonner College
- Williamsburg Technical College
- Winthrop University
- Wofford College
- York Technical College
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in South Carolina and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.