Fighting a Sexual Assault, Harassment, or Discrimination Accusation
Title IX was put in place to protect students, faculty, and staff from sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault. Those accused of a Title IX violation face harsh consequences, which can even lead to criminal charges. Below, we provide an overview of the Title IX investigation process, how these matters differ from civil and criminal proceedings, and how having a lawyer can help.
Are you the subject of a Title IX investigation or complaint? If so, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself. At The Durak Law Firm, we will guide you through every step of the process and work tirelessly to help you secure the best possible outcome. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation case review.
Title IX Overview
Title IX is a Federal civil rights law that was passed in 1972 to protect individuals in education programs from gender and sexual discrimination. Under Title IX, discrimination can include sexual harassment and violence, such as sexual coercion, sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape.
Under Title IX, educational institutions must investigate all reported acts of gender-based discrimination and take disciplinary action against individuals who are found to have violated the school’s Title IX policy as detailed in the institution’s Code of Conduct.
The Title IX Process
While the process can vary from school to school, below is a general overview of the steps of a Title IX investigation.
Complaint - The individual who experienced the alleged discrimination, a third party who witnessed the alleged act, or the institution itself files a complaint with the school’s Title IX Coordinator.
Preliminary Review - The Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint to determine the next steps, such as taking steps to ensure the safety of the parties involved and whether to formally investigate the allegation.
Formal Investigation - If the Coordinator finds a formal investigation necessary, he or she will assign the case to an investigator who will then work to gather evidence relating to the alleged discriminatory act. Evidence can include interviews of the parties involved, emails, text messages, photos, videos, and any relevant documents.
Hearing - The school will then conduct a hearing where both parties can present their sides. It is also an opportunity to present evidence and hear from any witnesses.
Decision - The individual or panel in charge then issues a decision based on the evidence and determines what sanctions, if any, will be imposed.
How Title IX Investigations Differ from Civil or Criminal Proceedings
At first glance, it may seem that Title IX investigations are similar to civil or criminal cases. However, there are some key differences.
Evidence - In criminal cases, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant committed an act of wrongdoing. However, in Title IX investigations, the decision-maker can find that the individual committed a violation based on a preponderance of evidence. In other words, they only need to determine if the person, more likely than not, committed wrongdoing.
Legal Representation - Defendants have the right to a lawyer in both civil and criminal matters. However, most educational institutions do not give individuals who are the subject of a Title IX investigation the right to have legal counsel present during the proceedings except when they involve an accusation of sexual assault.
Privacy - Civil and criminal cases are matters of public record with very few exceptions. Title IX investigations, on the other hand, are kept confidential. No information related to the investigation is made public unless there is prior authorization from all parties involved.
How an Attorney Can Help
Being the subject of a Title IX investigation can be stressful and frightening. But fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone. A Title IX defense lawyer can assist you by:
- Providing guidance during every step of the process
- Preparing you for interviews and hearings
- Ensuring your school adheres to Title IX policies and procedures
- Developing an effective defense strategy against the accusation
- If the institution allows an attorney to be present, advocating strongly on your behalf in the Title IX hearing.
Contact the Title IX Defense Attorneys at The Durak Law Firm Today
A Title IX investigation is a very serious matter. If you are found to have committed a violation, you face harsh sanctions, including removal from on-campus housing, suspension from your classes, and even expulsion from the institution. That is why it is critical to have a lawyer on your side.
If you are the subject of a Title IX investigation, contact the Durak Law immediately. Our
Franklin, TN Title IX defense attorneys can guide you through the process to ensure you are adequately defended against the complainant’s accusations. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.