Have you or your child been accused of a Title IX violation?
It's the phone call that no parent wants to receive: Your child is away at College and the school has begun taking steps to remove him/her from the school due to a Title IX violation. Make no mistake - the moment an accusation has been made against your child, the College/University is not primarily concerned with your child's due process rights to a fair hearing, presumption of innocence, or rights to confront their accuser. You cannot rely on the College/University to protect your child once a Title IX complaint is filed. Hiring an attorney is the best way to guarantee that someone is vigorously working to protect the respondent in a Title IX complaint.
Title IX is a unique and complicated area at the intersection of education and defense law. Nobody expects to encounter a Title IX complaint and it is normal to have more questions than answers at the beginning of this process.
What is Title IX?
Every College and University that receives federal funding must comply with Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972. This requires schools to protect students from sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence in the higher education setting. Each College and University has established its own rules and procedures that govern Title IX investigations, hearings and discipline.
What types of conduct could trigger a Title IX complaint?
Typical grounds for a Title IX complaint include:
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Sexual Orientation Bullying/Discrimination
- Sex or Gender Discrimination
Will the school provide a lawyer?
No. Your College/University will offer you an advisor to explain the process and answer your questions. This is different from an advocate, who will fight for you to receive a thorough investigation, a fair hearing and a zealous defense to help clear your name and remain on campus to complete your degree.
How long does the Title IX Process take?
One of the most troubling concerns about this process is how long it will take to be over. The simple answer is: The school controls the pace, but a lawyer will do everything possible to make sure that the careful balance is struck between "long enough to fully defend you" and "not too long that the stress ruins your life."
For a deeper look at the factors that go into determining how long this process will take, please review our guide, Understanding the Title IX Complaint Process Timeline: Navigating Your Rights.
What could happen after a finding of "responsible"?
If a student is found responsible for violating the College/University policies, they could face disciplinary actions to include:
- Academic Probation
- Holds on transcript records that may prevent transfer to a different College/University
Should I hire an attorney to defend a Title IX accusation?
Like an advisor, an attorney can provide you with an explanation of the Title IX process, copies of the rules and regulations, and answer your questions about the process. In addition to this valuable role, an attorney will advocate for your side of the story, conduct an independent assessment of the evidence being compiled against you, and assist you with every strategic decision in order to fight for your innocence. But when you hire a criminal defense attorney to defend a Title IX accusation, you gain an even stronger weapon in this fight: You will have a skilled litigator with the experience to confront lies and misstatements. You will have a constitutional expert to evaluate whether the College/University is truly upholding their promise to provide you with due process and confrontation rights. And, most of all, you will have an aggressive strategist to truly fight for you, every step of the way.
It is possible that local police open a separate investigation into any alleged criminal conduct. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is the best way to prepare and, ideally, prevent any criminal case from being filed against the student.
Remember that these investigations are not like criminal proceedings. These are quasi-judicial hearings without a judge or a jury. It is not enough to sit back and hope the school will protect your rights. As the famous quote goes, "Justice is never given, it must be exacted." This is even more true in a Title IX misconduct case than any other arena because the school does not want to be known for making it easy for the accused to stay on campus. Once accused of campus sexual misconduct or dating violence, every step must be taken carefully.
What should I do first to protect my child or myself against a Title IX accusation?
- Save all social media posts, text messages, and any evidence of the encounter.
- Comply with the No Contact Order that will be issued.
- Ask the school for a reasonable amount of time to secure your own advisor (say nothing more than this!).
- Do not talk to anyone about your case other than your parent/guardian and your lawyer.
- And then call Manosh Payette, LLC for a strategy session to review your case.
Manosh Payette, LLC has defended students in Title IX investigations and hearings throughout Rhode Island. Please click the link for more information about each College/University Title IX guidelines.
Your child deserves the best defense possible. Call our office for a case evaluation and strategy session as soon as you learn of a Title IX complaint or investigation.