Being accused of sexual misconduct is stressful. Mere accusations of these allegations are damaging and can affect your reputation and standing in the community. This is why it's important you understand the processes your school will require you to go through when facing these allegations. Here is a brief overview of what to expect.
The Title IX Process
Filing a complaint
A person who is characterized as an alleged victim in a complaint is known as a “complainant.” The person or people listed as alleged offenders in said complaint will be referred to as “respondents.” At Wilmington University, responsible employees of the institution are required to report any incidents of gender-based sexual misconduct. It doesn't matter if a student has come to an employee out of secrecy, or if an employee received notice of the alleged incident due to hearsay, all possible violations of school policy must be reported.
All reports go to the school's Director of Title IX. The school will take interim measures as needed to protect a complainant and others in the school community. Depending on the nature of the complaint, respondents could be issued a “no contact order,” be asked to stay away from some parts of campus, leave a residency hall, or even not attend classes that are shared with a complainant to prevent retaliation.
The investigative process
Initial investigation (intake)
Once the complaint is filed, a Title IX coordinator will launch an “intake” investigation to gather facts and ultimately determine if school policy has been violated. In the process of determining these findings, a complainant will attend a meeting laying out their version of what happened in a meeting. If there isn't enough sufficient evidence to proceed, the process will end, however, if there is sufficient evidence, a formal investigation will be conducted.
Respondents will receive a written notice that a formal investigation will be initiated. It is important that you take this notice seriously, as what you do from here on out could affect the outcome of your case. Investigations typically entail interviews with complainants, respondents, and witnesses, and will not last longer than 60 days. It may also consist of the expertise and advice of an expert to confirm facts. Once it is completed, the findings will be sent to all parties involved. If a respondent still disagrees with the investigative findings and the allegations against them, a hearing will be scheduled shortly.
An external, and objective source will be appointed to hear the case. The order of the hearing includes a presentation of the investigative report, testimonies from all parties and witnesses, and any other relevant that can be presented to support their account of events. The source will come up with a determination under his or her discretion.
Respondents have a short time frame of two days to appeal an original decision. However, an appeal will only be granted if it is based on good reason. Appeals are usually granted when the following can be proven by a respondent:
- The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation
- A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of a hearing
- New or unknown evidence has surfaced that could substantially impact the original determination or sanction
Title IX Advisor
In accordance with state and federal laws, you, as a respondent are permitted to have a support person to accompany you at any point of your school's Title IX processes. Selecting an attorney to occupy this position would be crucial since they can use their legal experience to help you gather evidence, witnesses and draft an effective final statement for a hearing. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully aiding people who have been in your predicament. Contact him today for assistance and a fair chance at receiving a favorable outcome.
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 future 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 to students facing disciplinary cases in Delaware and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help