College students found responsible for sexual misconduct can face penalties that follow them for the rest of their lives. If you’ve recently been accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault on a college campus, it’s normal to have several concerns:
- I’m innocent. How can I prove it?
- What types of penalties could I face?
- Could the police get involved?
- Should I hire a lawyer to represent me?
- What are my rights as an accused student?
Our Pennsylvania Title IX defense lawyers are prepared to help you protect your rights.
Our campus sexual misconduct defense lawyers specialize in helping students accused of sexual offenses prove their innocence during the disciplinary process.
"Thank You" We were worried our son's future could be ruined, but their lawyers helped us.
Receiving notice that you’ve been accused of college campus sexual misconduct is an extremely stressful experience. While sexual assault is a serious issue on college campuses nationwide, sometimes the students accused of these offenses are treated unfairly. In some cases, students who were innocent of any wrongdoing are found responsible for misconduct and face severe penalties which have negative consequences for their futures after school, such as:
- Suspension and expulsion
- A permanent mark for sexual misconduct on your transcript
- Possible arrest and criminal charges
- Difficulty graduating
- Difficulty finding work after graduation
You may have faith that the truth will come out during the disciplinary process, but unfortunately, some schools side with accusers without giving the accused student the opportunity to prove their innocence. This is because a federal law called Title IX allows federal funding to be stripped from schools who fail to appropriately handle cases of sexual misconduct.
Sometimes, colleges and universities push for disciplinary action in all sexual misconduct complaints, in order to avoid the risk of facing penalties. When this happens, innocent students can suffer penalties that may limit their future.
If you’re a college student or the parent of a student who’s been accused of sexual misconduct, it’s important to do everything you can to protect your rights. Our Pennsylvania Title IX defense lawyers can represent you through each aspect of the disciplinary process and are prepared to prove your innocence and protect your future.
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The Title IX Disciplinary Process For Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Policies for handling allegations of sexual misconduct vary between universities. However, there are some common Title IX requirements, which all federally funded universities must follow. These include:
- A Title IX coordinator must be appointed and identified, and the school must explain their roles and responsibilities.
- Identify who will be conducting the investigation and what that investigation might entail.
- Specify a reasonably prompt time for conducting the investigation and resolving the complaint.
- Explain how evidence will be preserved.
- Provide all parties with equal rights during the investigation.
- Specify what may or may not be shared with law enforcement.
- Outline steps for how the school can protect the student filing the complaint.
- Explain how an alleged victim’s request for confidentiality could influence the investigation.
While the grievance and adjudication process may vary depending on the school, there are a couple requirements that all universities must meet during this process:
- Explain the grievance and adjudication process
- Outline the roles of both parties, including notice of hearing for both parties, an opportunity for both to present witnesses and evidence, an explanation of possible penalties, and an outline for how both parties will be informed of the results of adjudication and the appellate process
It should be noted that campus disciplinary processes differ from the criminal justice system in significant ways. Rather than operating under the premise of “innocent until proven guilty”, many schools instead opt for a standard of proof known as “the preponderance of evidence”. This standard only requires that it’s more than 50% likely that the accused student is guilty of the conduct of which he’s accused.
2017 Changes To Title IX Policy
In September 2017, the Department of Education made some changes to Title IX campus sexual assault protocol:
- Schools have the choice to use the preponderance of evidence standard or the convincing evidence standard
- The option to allow appeals from one or both students
- The option to allow informal resolution methods, such as mediation – but only if both parties agree
- Students accused of sexual misconduct must be provided with written notice, including details of the allegations
- Accused students must be provided with adequate time to prepare a response before an initial interview
- A recommendation to provide concurrent and written notification of the outcome of the process to both parties
While these changes could help some students who have been wrongfully accused, the universities still have a large amount of control over how they handle cases of alleged sexual misconduct.
Should You Hire A Lawyer As Your Title IX Adviser?
During the Title IX disciplinary process, all parties are entitled to have a Title IX adviser. This person provides support throughout the process. Your school may allow faculty members, coaches, and other staff to act as your adviser – but we recommend going another route. Remember that schools are motivated to protect their federal funding, which too often means taking these allegations at face value.
Instead, we advise hiring a campus sexual misconduct defense lawyer as your Title IX adviser. Your lawyer can help develop a strategy for proving your innocent, help you prepare for interviews and other proceedings, gather evidence, and hold your university accountable if they fail to meet the requirements of a Title IX investigation.
If you’re looking for answers about how you can protect your future in the wake of a sexual misconduct allegation, get in touch with us and learn more today in a free consultation.
Representing Pennsylvania Students From All Universities & Colleges
Our Pennsylvania Title IX lawyers are prepared to represent students from universities throughout the state, including:
|Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||Bloomsburg|
|Bryn Athyn College||Bryn Athyn|
|Bryn Mawr College||Bryn Mawr|
|Cairn University||Langhorne …|
|California University of Pennsylvania||California|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh …|
|Cedar Crest College||Allentown|
|Central Penn College||Summerdale|
|Chestnut Hill College||Philadelphia|
|Cheyney University of Pennsylvania||Cheyney|
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion|
|Clarks Summit University||Clarks Summit|
|Curtis Institute of Music||Philadelphia|
|Delaware Valley University||Doylestown|
|DeSales University||Center Valley|
|East Stroudsburg University||East Stroudsburg|
|Eastern University||St. Davids|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro|
|Franklin and Marshall College||Lancaster|
|Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine||Scranton|
|Geneva College||Beaver Falls|
|Gratz College||Melrose Park|
|Grove City College||Grove City|
|Gwynedd Mercy University||Gwynedd Valley|
|Harrisburg University of Science and Technology||Harrisburg|
|Holy Family University||Philadelphia|
|Immaculata University||Immaculata …|
|Indiana University of Pennsylvania||Indiana|
|Keystone College||La Plume|
|Kutztown University of Pennsylvania||Kutztown|
|La Roche College||Pittsburgh|
|La Salle University||Philadelphia|
|Lancaster Bible College||Lancaster|
|Lebanon Valley College||Annville|
|Lincoln University||Lincoln University|
|Lock Haven University||Lock Haven …|
|Mansfield University of Pennsylvania||Mansfield|
|Messiah College||Mechanicsburg …|
|Millersville University of Pennsylvania||Millersville|
|Moore College of Art and Design||Philadelphia|
|Mount Aloysius College||Cresson|
|Penn State College of Medicine||Hershey|
|Penn State University||University Park …|
|Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts||Philadelphia|
|Pennsylvania College of Art and Design||Lancaster|
|Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||Lancaster|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||Williamsport|
|Philadelphia University, Pennsylvania||Philadelphia|
|Point Park University||Pittsburgh|
|Robert Morris University||Moon Township …|
|Saint Francis University||Loretto|
|Saint Joseph’s University||Philadelphia|
|Saint Vincent College||Latrobe|
|Salus University||Elkins Park …|
|Seton Hill University||Greensburg|
|Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania||Shippensburg|
|Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania||Slippery Rock|
|Temple University||Philadelphia …|
|The American College of Financial Services||Bryn Mawr|
|The University of the Arts||Philadelphia|
|Thomas Jefferson University||Philadelphia|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia|
|University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh …|
|University of Scranton||Scranton|
|University of the Sciences in Philadelphia||Philadelphia|
|University of Valley Forge||Phoenixville|
|Washington & Jefferson College||Washington|
|West Chester University of Pennsylvania||West Chester|
|Westminster College, Pennsylvania||New Wilmington|
|Widener University||Chester …|
|WON Institute of Graduate Studies||Glenside|
|York College of Pennsylvania||York|