Being accused of a Title IX violation while a college or university student can be an extremely frightening, stressful, and challenging experience. Allegations of sexual misconduct can result in student disciplinary proceedings and criminal charges, both of which can have severe consequences for your future.
If you are facing accusations of sexual misconduct that violate Title IX, you may wish to contact a Virginia Title IX lawyer for advice as soon as possible.
An adverse outcome in Title IX proceedings can negatively affect your academic life, your personal life, and your future professional life. A finding of misconduct could result in your suspension or expulsion from campus, limited opportunities to continue to pursue your educations, and the loss of valuable scholarships, internships, and future job opportunities.
Enlisting the help of a student defense attorney may be crucial to a more favorable outcome in your case.
All private and public colleges and universities that receive federal funding, which is most schools, are subject to the requirements of Title IX. As a result, schools have specific responsibilities and procedures that they must follow under guidance by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education when allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment arise. Schools that fail to address or handle these allegations adequately are at risk of losing federal funding.
Title IX cases must follow strict timelines, so these cases tend to move quickly through the investigation and school conduct code proceedings. Every school has different versions of the administrative processes that school administrators follow, but they all do have common characteristics. For instance, every school must appoint a Title IX coordinator, who typically is in charge of investigating and making preliminary determinations about complaints of sexual misconduct on campus.
With allegations of sexual misconduct and their potentially severe consequences, many individuals assume that school conduct code proceedings under Title IX are very similar to criminal court proceedings. Unfortunately, there are significant differences between the two types of proceedings that do not tend to be advantageous for the persons accused of misconduct. A Title IX lawyer in Virginia can explain the distinctions between school disciplinary proceedings based on Title IX and criminal court proceedings.
For instance, in criminal court proceedings, accused individuals are entitled to many constitutional rights, including the right to confront their accusers, the right to be represented by an attorney, the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination, and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
The burden of proof for the prosecution in criminal cases also is quite high; the prosecutor must show that individuals are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that there is no other possible conclusion to draw from the evidence then that the accused persons are guilty of committing the crime.
In Title IX proceedings, however, accused individuals enjoy none of these rights. Accused students do not have a right to Title IX attorney in Virginia, and many school policies prohibit attorneys from advocating on behalf of students during student conduct code hearings and proceedings.
The accused persons often are unable to confront their accusers or cross-examine them; if the school finds that the accused persons have committed misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence, which is means “more likely than not,” then the school will find that they committed misconduct.
When you are facing allegations of sexual misconduct, your future could be at stake. Not only could you face suspension or expulsion from school, but you also may face criminal charges resulting from the allegations, which can result in jail, probation, and other unwanted consequences. The most advisable course of action in this situation may be to contact a Virginia Title IX lawyer as early as possible in the Title IX investigation process.
Although it is tempting to want to explain your behavior and the situation that led to the allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment against you, it is typically not in your best interest to do so. The Title IX process tends to be stacked against you from the very beginning and making voluntary statements without first getting legal advice could lead to you incriminating yourself, both in terms of conduct code proceedings and criminal prosecution.
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