In America, the criminal justice system states all people are innocent of a crime until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; however, schools don’t have the same standard. During a Title IX investigation, policy violations are determined by a preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning “more likely than not”. Additionally, violations of a school’s policy do not have to amount to criminal conduct. Those accused of sexual misconduct are often investigated by individuals with no investigative training or experience. This practice is sponsored by school boards who often stray from their stated policies and procedures. Fortunately, there are some ways to protect yourself during a Title IX investigation.
Recognize Your School Is Not Your Advocate
Student affairs offices are responsible for acting on behalf of a college in matters of student discipline. When an individual accuses someone else of sexual harassment, it is the office’s job to take immediate action based on the allegations.
During the investigative process, discipline boards may place no-contact directives, bar a student from extracurricular activities, or even place a student on suspension status. Due to the school’s obligation to investigate under federal law, the lower standard of proof, and many schools’ lax approach toward enforcing the policy and procedures, you should not assume the odds are in your favor.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
Many students believe they can handle the allegations on their own but often end up hurting their case because they do not realize the ramifications of their actions. For example, many students try and defend themselves, claiming both parties were drunk, and therefore, he or she should not be held responsible for their actions. However, Title IX policies do not uphold this defense, which means the student may have unknowingly hurt their case.
Knowing the Law Matters!
The best way to protect yourself against a sexual harassment allegation is to hire a Title IX defense lawyer as soon as possible. Caplan & Tamburino will review the specific policies of your school, listen to your story, and lead you in the right direction for your case.
Do not wait; time is of the essence! Call (612) 444-5020 now for a free consultation of your case.