Title IX is designed to protect all students from discrimination, including survivors of sexual misconduct and the accused. But media attention on colleges and other outside forces have led some administrators to treat the accused person as if they are guilty without due process. If you are facing allegations of sexual misconduct, here's what you need to know:
You can't assume that your school is going to defend your rights as diligently as an accuser
In school handbooks, you'll find numerous passages that address how important it is to your school to uphold the rights of all parties in proceedings. Although this sounds good, the reality is that some schools won't defend your rights with the same vigor that they'll defend the rights of an accuser, if at all. Why? The stigma attached to sexual misconduct crimes invoke people to draw their own conclusions about an incident, and more often than not, you're to blame. The line between supporting victims while refraining from assigning guilt to the accused is understandably muddied. To be fair, it's difficult, if not impossible, for human beings to remain completely biased due to the nature of these types of allegations. So, don't be surprised if people aren't as passionate about tending to your needs in comparison to an accuser. However, when biases cause administrators, coordinators, or any other figure to infringe upon your rights, this becomes an issue that your school can get in trouble for.
It's against the law for anyone (including your friends and family) to retaliate against the complainant
After catching wind of the allegations made against you, you may feel confused, scared, and even angry. This is especially true in cases when respondents believe that that they're innocent. Despite how you feel about the situation, you should not contact your accuser. You should also advise your friends, family, and peers to steer clear. Although it may be tempting to set things straight with an accuser, doing so can potentially make your situation worse. If your actions can be construed as harassment, you may face criminal charges. You'll also have to face additional repercussions carried out by your school, like suspension, until the complaint is resolved.
You might be discouraged from seeking legal counsel, but you should do it anyway
Some schools don't like legal professionals to be involved in their affairs. Regardless, you are always granted the option of seeking legal representation to serve as your Title IX advisor. An attorney can protect your rights effectively, and make sure you are treated fairly throughout the entire process. Not to mention, they can help you adequately defend yourself, by aiding you in preparing for your hearing or investigation.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.