When it comes to college athletes and sexual misconduct, colleges and universities have learned to tread lightly. Presidents of institutions (and their public relations teams) are mindful that the mismanagement of one case is all it takes to tarnish a reputation they've worked hard to build. In an era where immediate punishment and disclosure are smiled upon, colleges find themselves struggling to find the line between fair treatment and overzealous measures in Title IX cases.
In fear of backlash, many institutions today rather be safe than sorry. They publicly announce the incident to the masses and impose a swift suspension in the name of being transparent, all while leaving student-athletes in a tailspin.
If you are a student-athlete who's been accused of sexual misconduct, the process you're about to undergo won't be easy. You will be judged by your classmates, friends, family, and the general public far before you get the chance to clear your name. If the claims are false or exaggerated, it may feel like nobody believes you. But the worst part of this whole debacle is the fact that your athletic career is in jeopardy.
Regardless of the situation, all students deserve due process and the preservation of their rights. The only way to affirm you get what you are promised is with the representation of an experienced student defense attorney. If you still aren't convinced, here are a few reasons why you should consider letting a lawyer help you:
The Odds Are Against You
You may be surprised to hear that merely being a student-athlete significantly increases your chance of being accused of sexual misconduct. In fact, according to a study conducted by ESPN's “Outside the Lines,” college athletes are actually three times more likely than other students to be in this predicament.
The data in the analysis provided that about 6.3% of complaints against students involved an athlete as a person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes were actually found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
You Might Be Suspended Pending the Investigation
One thing is for certain these days, schools aren't hesitant to bring down the hammer when their athletes acquire criminal charges. Take the incident involving the University of Maine running back, Ramon Jefferson. He was arrested and charged with domestic violence, assault, and criminal mischief earlier this year and was immediately suspended thereafter.
The decision to suspend athletes is often made by coaches and athletic directors. In a perfect world, you'd trust that these figures would make a life-altering decision in your best interest, right? Wrong. Many athletes have learned the hard way that their ineligibility to play may or may not be rooted in the desire to keep their athletic program scandal-free.
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
In the past, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was continually under fire for going too easy on college athletes with a history of sexual violence. But the NCAA's response to allegations and determinations are slowly changing, as the association has started cracking down on student-athletes in this predicament by stripping scholarships. With so much at stake, it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative.
Are You a Student-Athlete Who's Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct at a Maine College or University? Contact the Lento Law Firm
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and that your rights are protected in a Title IX investigation in Maine to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for respondents who are student-athletes. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill and expertise to help you effectively navigate the process. For a case evaluation or for more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.
Maine colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student athlete's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Bates College
- Bowdoin College
- Central Maine Community College
- Central Maine Medical Center College of Nursing and Health Professions
- Colby College
- College of the Atlantic
- Eastern Maine Community College
- Husson University
- Kaplan University Maine Campus
- Kennebec Valley Community College
- Landing School of Boat Building and Design
- Maine College of Art
- Maine Maritime Academy
- New England School of Communications
- Northern Maine Community College
- Saint Joseph's College of Maine
- Southern Maine Community College
- Thomas College
- Unity College
- University of Maine
- University of Maine at Augusta
- University of Maine at Farmington
- University of Maine at Fort Kent
- University of Maine at Machias
- University of Maine at Presque Isle
- University of New England
- University of Southern Maine
- Washington County Community College
- York County Community College
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; student athletes in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Maine who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, many student athletes and their families, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but student athletes and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of student athletes at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that a student athlete's academic and professional future, in addition to a post-college athletic career, is on the line. 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, New Jersey, and New York, 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 to student athletes facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Maine and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.