You don't need anyone to tell you that accusations of sexual misconduct can have immensely negative consequences. What you may not know, though, is that baseless accusations of sexual wrongdoing—or any other offense covered by Title IX—can be just as damaging as legitimate allegations.
Evidentiary standards in Title IX cases are subject to change. Depending on when your Title IX hearing occurs, you may not have the benefit of a "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. Even when this standard does apply, you want to leave no doubt that you're not responsible for an alleged offense.
You need a capable advisor on your side, and you should not wait any longer to hire one.
I'm a College Employee in New Mexico. Does Title IX Apply to Me?
Most likely. As the U.S. Department of Education explains, every federally funded college and university in America must comply with Title IX. This compliance extends to employees, including but not limited to:
- Coaches and trainers
- Adjunct professors and teaching assistants
- Service staff, including those in technical service fields
If you fit the criteria of a university employee, then Title IX likely applies to you. The range of offenses covered by Title IX has grown over the years and now includes acts ranging from discrimination to harassment and sexual misconduct.
Remember, you don't have to commit any of these acts to face serious consequences. A mere accusation against you could be enough to result in termination and other punitive measures—especially now that legislation is primed to revert to the preponderance of evidence standard.
What Lies Beyond a Title IX Complaint in New Mexico
Every Title IX-compliant university in New Mexico employs a Title IX Coordinator. There may be several ways to file a Title IX complaint at your college in New Mexico, but the Title IX Coordinator will ultimately rule on every complaint.
Once the Coordinator receives a complaint against you, they will weigh available facts and evidence. If the Coordinator and their team decide to pursue the complaint against you, the next steps will include:
- The investigation, during which an appointed investigator—who may or may not be qualified to handle a case like yours—will gather facts, interview you and others involved in the case, and reach conclusions about your responsibility for the alleged offense.
- The publication of the investigator's report, which you generally have ten days to request corrections.
- A hearing, which is not necessarily guaranteed to occur, but which does typically occur. You can request a hearing and may want to do so. A hearing provides your advisor a stage to present evidence, present favorable witnesses, cross-examine opposing witnesses, and make both opening and closing statements.
- The issuance of a decision on your case, which generally presents two outcomes: 1) A finding that you are not responsible (and the related dismissal of your case), or 2) A finding that you are responsible (and the delivery of sanctions against you).
If you receive a finding of responsibility, then an appeal will constitute the final stage of the Title IX disciplinary process. Even if your appeal is not successful, our team may take additional legal action on your behalf.
What Do You Stand to Lose If You're Found Responsible for Title IX Misconduct?
Those accused of Title IX violations stand to lose a lot. Whether you're accused of harassment, sexual violence, or another Title IX offense, a strong defense could be the difference between your life proceeding more or less usual and:
- Loss of reputation: Being found responsible for any Title IX violation will be a blow to your reputation. While you can hope that others will understand the low standard of evidence in Title IX cases, or the specific circumstances of your case, many will not. Harm to your reputation could prove irreparable, especially if the allegations you face are serious.
- Loss of current and future employment: You may be fired if your employer determines you've violated Title IX. Though Title IX proceedings are supposed to be a private matter, there are multiple ways that your case could become public knowledge. Even if other employers are not aware of your alleged Title IX violations, they may ask why you left your current position. In any case, you may have difficulty obtaining future employment at the caliber of your current job.
- Lost earning power: If you lose your job and are not able to gain comparable employment, then you may lose significant earning power.
- Lost quality of life: The stress of being deemed a Title IX violator, and secondhand consequences of that branding, can be immense. Your psychological health may suffer as a consequence, and several aspects of your life may worsen.
Yes, you're facing great stakes, but you're not alone. The team at the Lento Law Firm wants to lend our expertise, resources, and experience to your defense. Defending individuals against schools is our foremost practice area, and we'll seek a suitable resolution to your case.
Hire the Lento Law Firm to Help with Your Defense in New Mexico
An allegation that you've violated Title IX statutes does not have to define your life—though it can if you don't take the upcoming disciplinary process seriously.
Hiring seasoned Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento may provide peace of mind and, even more importantly, may lead to the result that you seek. Our goal is to help you move beyond this stressful period in your life, and we'll work hard with your employer in New Mexico to secure a resolution.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or submit your case information online. Don't wait. We want to move towards a solution as soon as possible.