A finding of a sexual misconduct or assault could have a profound influence on the future of a student. Not only may it result in academic penalties such expulsion or suspension but it may also make it more difficult for the student to gain internships or be accepted to graduate schools. Students can lose federal financial help or scholarships. These repercussions may be long-lasting or debilitating but many can be avoided.
The first thing you need to do in order to defend yourself is hire a qualified attorney-advisor. Your attorney will act as your voice and advocate throughout the entire process. They will act as a middleman so that your statements can’t go against you and help you collect evidence to support you defense. The attorney-advisor will also be able to challenge the integrity of the investigator and witnesses, and highlight inconsistencies and discrepancies in the accuser’s story.
Your Title IX Lawyer Chicago will also work to get you a resolution through mediation or another informal process. You may be able reach an informal resolution instead of the harsher academic punishments that can result if you are found responsible in a formal manner. There are also appeals available. Students have a very limited time to appeal after the school has made a decision about the investigation. A good lawyer/advisor will help you decide if you want to appeal or not and will protect your rights at every stage of the process.
While schools are free to develop their own processes, federal guidelines stress that both parties should have equal access to a fair, impartial investigation. The appeals process should also provide both complainants as well as respondents with a new, independent decisionmaker who is not involved with the original result.
Title IX is different from criminal trials, and there’s a lower standard of proof. Title IX hearings use a “preponderance of evidence” standard, not the “beyond any reasonable doubt” standard in criminal justice. This creates an unfair prejudice against the accused. Therefore, it is important to have strong legal representation.
Title IX Defense Lawyers
While the Title IX standard is usually a one-year suspension, many schools will try to expel any student found guilty of sexual abuse. A student found guilty for a sexual offence can also be subject to significant non-academic sanctions, including restraining order or protective order, mandatory counseling or therapy, loss of college credit and/or scholarship funds, difficulty in finding work or entering specific careers because of the requirement for professional licensure and more.
If a school does not address a Title IX infraction, it may be subject to fines and enforcement actions. This can affect the school’s federal funding as well as its ability to attract top students. Our Title IX attorney’s are known nationally for their excellence and as powerful advocates in fighting for the rights of students.