If you've been paying any attention to the news within the last few years, you've heard about the epidemic-like rates of sexual misconduct that are plaguing New Mexico college campuses and hundreds of other institutions across the country. In an attempt to resolve this issue, the Obama Administration implemented the “Dear Colleague” letter, which gives federally funded schools the responsibility of adjudicating any instances of sexual misconduct brought by students and staff.
Being accused, or named as a respondent in a Title IX complaint is just the beginning of a whirlwind of an experience for student-athletes. Allegations (understandably) won't be taken lightly, and you'll be judged far before you get a chance to prove your innocence. To successfully navigate the Title IX process and ensure you achieve due process, it's imperative you seek the help of an attorney-advisor. Here's why:
There's a Possibility You'll Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned athletic scholarships understand the hard work and dedication that goes into being an exceptional athlete. To be great, you need to be committed. And athletes commit a large quantity of their time to conditioning, training, and honing their schools to stand out. But despite training extremely hard to earn an athletic scholarship, you must understand that this opportunity is contingent upon very specific conditions. Unfortunately, what many student-athletes learn (the hard way) is how easy it is for a scholarship to slip through their fingers.
These days, it only takes one false accusation. The National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) response to allegations has gone from lethargic to almost assertive in recent years, as the program has cracked down on student-athletes on scholarship with a history of sexual violence. To strip away a scholarship has become the norm, and it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative to ensure it doesn't happen to you.
The Odds Are Against You
According to an analysis by ESPN television show Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct. The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students involved an athlete as a respondent. Whether or not the student-athletes were actually found “responsible” for these accusations was not included in the study.
You Could Be Suspended Pending an Investigation
When a student-athlete is accused of sexual misconduct, a number of interim measures are imposed in response. Interim measures are guidelines that limit or outright prohibit the interactions between respondents and victims. One of the most detrimental interim measures for student-athletes is suspension from the team.
In many cases, coaches and athletic directors have the discretion to decide whether or not to impose these interim measures. In a perfect world, you'd trust that these decisions are made in your best interest, but unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes the decision to bench you or suspend you from the team is made to keep the team out of a negative spotlight.
Are You a Student-Athlete Who's Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct? 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 New Mexico is 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.
New Mexico 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:
- Brown Mackie College Albuquerque
- Central New Mexico Community College
- Clovis Community College
- Computer Career Center
- Eastern New Mexico University Main Campus
- Eastern New Mexico University Roswell Campus
- Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Campus
- Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture
- ITT Technical Institute Albuquerque
- Luna Community College
- Mesalands Community College
- National American University Albuquerque
- National American University Rio Rancho
- Navajo Technical College
- New Mexico Highlands University
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- New Mexico Junior College
- New Mexico Military Institute
- New Mexico State University Alamogordo
- New Mexico State University Carlsbad
- New Mexico State University Dona Ana
- New Mexico State University Grants
- New Mexico State University Main Campus
- Northern New Mexico College
- San Juan College
- Santa Fe Community College
- Santa Fe University of Art and Design
- Southwest University of Visual Arts Albuquerque
- St John's College
- University of New Mexico Gallup Campus
- University of New Mexico Los Alamos Campus
- University of New Mexico Main Campus
- University of New Mexico Taos Campus
- University of New Mexico Valencia County Campus
- University of Phoenix Albuquerque Campus
- University of the Southwest
- Western New Mexico University
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 Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in New Mexico 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 New Mexico and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.