Sexual harassment and sexual assault are problems throughout society, including on college campuses. Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits gender-based misconduct at federally funded institutions of higher learning. However, accusations of sexual misconduct sometimes result from misunderstandings and false accusations, which can ruin the reputations and careers of the students accused.
Title IX requires institutions within its coverage to have a process in place to investigate allegations of such as gender-based harassment, assault or stalking and to take disciplinary measures when such misconduct is found. The Title IX investigation should be prompt, fair and impartial. Both parties should have equal rights to participate, to have an advisor present at all meetings and hearings and to present witnesses and evidence in their favor.
If you’re accused of sexual misconduct in a Title IX case, there may be several avenues of defense available to you. You can demonstrate that the alleged incident did not occur or did not happen the way the complaint described it. If the complaint alleges a pattern of behavior amounting to harassment, one can show that the individual actions were not misconduct in themselves. You can further present evidence of benign motivations for your actions, thereby showing a lack of intent to commit misconduct.
You may challenge the credibility of the accuser by presenting witnesses and evidence that contradict them. You may point out inconsistencies in the accusations and any motive that your accuser may have to lie or to exaggerate.
You also may be able to make a case that what you did doesn’t merit discipline. You might be able to show that:
- You did not realize or have reason to believe that you were engaging in sexual misconduct
- The accuser consented or appeared to consent to your actions
- You normally behave in a proper manner and the misconduct was an aberration
You can also present witnesses and evidence supporting your good character and history of good behavior.
An experienced Title IX defense attorney can represent you throughout the proceeding, arguing your defenses as effectively as possible.
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio provides representation to students in Title IX proceedings at colleges and other higher-learning institutions throughout south central Texas. Call us at 210-598-8629 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.