Title IX Defense Attorney in Virginia
At the law offices of Farmer Legal, PLLC, our talented Virginia Title IX defense attorney recognizes that when a university opens an investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct involving two students, the investigation and disciplinary hearing is not always conducted fairly. In fact, in many cases, students accused of sexual misconduct are hardly given an opportunity to defend themselves at all, and may be expelled even when criminal charges are dropped against them or they are declared innocent by a criminal court.
We know that the odds may be against you if you have been charged with academic sexual misconduct, but we are confident in our ability to help you understand your legal options and defend yourself against allegations. If you or a loved one are facing academic sexual misconduct allegations, contact our law firm today for a free consultation.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a long-standing federal law in the United States that was originally passed in 1972, and is designed to protect people from discrimination based on sex. These protections, and Title IX regulations, apply to all people in educational institutions in the U.S. which receive federal funding. The legislation is often referred to when talking about athletics, as it requires educational institutions that receive federal funding to provide equal opportunities in the realm of athletics – and all other areas – for both men and women.
In 2011, the Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” that pertained to student sexual violence and Title IX. The letter explained that in addition to prohibiting sex discrimination, universities also had a responsibility to respond to any claims of sexual violence per the requirements of Title IX. Essentially, the letter states that schools have a duty to investigate any claims of sexual violence independent of a criminal investigation by police.
Title IX and Student Sexual Violence
Title IX applies to student-on-student sexual violence, i.e. allegations of assault, rape, and other sexual misconduct, when the sexual violence limits the alleged victim’s ability to participate in any educational program or benefit from such program; the school violates its
Title IX obligations when it fails to investigate claims and take corrective measures.
While it is completely reasonable – and even a very good thing – that schools are required to investigate allegations of sexual violence and conduct hearings, the outcomes of these hearings are often tough and unfair for defendants, who may not even get an opportunity to question their accuser before the hearing board or ask questions of witnesses. The result may be expulsion or suspension from the university, even in cases where a separate, police-led investigation clears the defendant of charges.
When an improperly conducted hearing and investigation leads to the expulsion of a student, typically a male student, from a university, this student may claim that their rights under Title IX have been breached.
What to Do If You Are Accused of Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Violence
If you are a student at a university and you are accused of sexual misconduct or sexual violence, your university is obligated to open an investigation into these allegations. This must be done in a “designated and reasonably prompt” time frame. If the university determines that you are, in fact, in violation of a university sexual misconduct policy, they are obligated to appropriately remedy the effects that this violation has had on the alleged victim. This could result in you being seriously penalized for an act that you are not guilty of, and the penalty could have a major effect on your future. For example, if you are expelled, transferring to another university is almost never an option, which could limit your future and career opportunities.
If you are accused of sexual misconduct and your university plans to open an investigation, you need to contact a Virginia Title IX defense attorney immediately. Sexual misconduct crimes might include:
- Sexual harassment;
- Sexual assault; or
We can help you to represent yourself during your disciplinary hearing, and will also work in your best interest to obtain witness statements, interrogate accusers, collect evidence, and consider different defenses. We can also help you to understand your school’s consent policy – which is the policy that defines what is considered “consent” to sexual activities – and whether or not you breached it; if you did not, we will build a case that seeks to prove that.
In the event that your school has already taken disciplinary action against you and you believe that these actions are inconsistent with your rights under Title IX and were inappropriate, our experienced Title IX defense attorney can assist you in exploring your legal options, including bringing forth a lawsuit for damages against the university.
Do Not Attempt to Represent Yourself
University students who are accused of sexual misconduct often do not understand the charges and claims made against them, nor how to defend themselves against such claims, nor how the Title IX investigative and disciplinary hearing process works. Universities often have immense pressure on them to act quickly when a claim of sexual misconduct is made, and sometimes this results in taking shortcuts in an investigation, or acting rashly and without causation in a disciplinary decision. While we understand the pressure that universities face, we believe that all students are who accused of sexual misconduct deserve a fair and just investigation into their case, and should never be unfairly penalized for something that they didn’t do.
By representing yourself during the Title IX process following a claim of sexual misconduct, you may be risking your future. We advocate for you every step of the way, and can assist you in avoiding the worst penalties, like expulsion. You do not deserve to be punished for something you are not guilty of.
Contact Our Experienced Law Firm Today
At the law offices of Farmer Legal, PLLC, our experienced Virginia Title IX defense attorney has helped many young people understand their rights as they pertain to university Title IX investigations and penalties. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, do not wait to take legal action! A delay in action could have serious consequences for your future. Instead, contact Farmer Legal, PLLC today at (804) 325-1441 or by using our online contact form.