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Cleveland Title IX Defense Attorney

Sexual Misconduct Allegations & Administrating Hearings in Ohio

Facing allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or sexual violence can be daunting in any setting. These allegations are especially difficult for college and university students, as well as faculty members, for a myriad of reasons. Such allegations carry significant consequences that can negatively and permanently impact an individual’s academic, professional and personal life. Moreover, these claims are exceptionally disruptive to the accused as well as their family and friends, particularly in light of the potentially life-altering outcomes that can result from often unfounded allegations.

A skilled and knowledgeable Title IX attorney can make a critical difference in protecting the rights of the accused and defending against allegations of sexual misconduct. The attorneys at Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., have decades of experience representing individuals accused of serious sexual misconduct. Our firm has been on the cutting edge of Title IX defense at colleges and universities by utilizing a focused, aggressive, and creative approach in defending our clients. Led by Attorney Eric Long, our team has represented students, professors, coaches and other faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. We are proud of the extraordinary successes we have achieved in protecting our clients’ futures at all stages of the process, including investigations, formal disciplinary hearings, appeals, and if necessary, within State and Federal Courts. At Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., we recognize that all individuals accused of misconduct are presumed innocent, and we fiercely advocate on behalf of our clients to ensure that the principles of due process and fundamental fairness are adequately administered.

Have a potential Title IX case anywhere in Cleveland or the state of Ohio? Call (888) 694-4645 or contact us online to speak confidentially with an attorney.

What Is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments Act. Broad in scope, it generally prohibits gender discrimination in any educational program or activity which receives financial assistance from the federal government.

That means a range of institutions are subject to Title IX, including:

  • Public and private colleges that receive federal funding;
  • Vocational / occupational programs or schools;
  • Trade colleges / career institutes;
  • Athletics programs;
  • Highs schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.

Apart from the significant impact that these claims can have on an individual’s academic or professional career, students and faculty accused of wrongdoing can also be subjected to criminal liability based upon the same allegations underlying relevant Title IX proceedings. Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., has extensive experience defending individuals accused of criminal offenses on both the State and Federal levels and has earned a national reputation for representing people accused of sex crimes. Our vast knowledge and proven track record provide an unparalleled foundation from which we fight for our clients in Title IX matters.

TITLE IX LEGAL UPDATE: In August 2019, a federal appeals court ruled a former UMass student was deprived of his due process rights after he was suspended by school administrators without an official hearing over allegations that he assaulted and harassed his girlfriend. The ruling splits from a previous decision issued by another federal appellate court about the rights of the accused (or their representative) to directly question accusers in Title IX proceedings.

The latest ruling held that while cross-examination should be mandated in some form by universities overseeing Title IX proceedings (especially in cases of disputed credibility), questions don’t necessarily need to come from students or their attorneys, and may instead come from a panel of officials and / or students responsible for deciding the case.

In addition to creating a potential SCOTUS showdown over due process rights and cross-examination in Title IX cases, the ruling may also produce significant conflict among schools and universities as the U.S. Department of Education looks to clarify Title IX rules – including potential regulatory changes that would provide schools with greater flexibility in adjudicating Title IX cases.

The confusion and possible future Supreme Court decision, potential for due process violations, and pending regulatory changes are all the more reason to work with proven attorneys when facing a Title IX matter.

Title IX & Sexual Misconduct

Gender discrimination under Title IX is not limited to what many think of when they hear discrimination – that is, exclusion from participation. Complaints of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, dating violence, or sexual harassment on campus are governed by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, a gender discrimination law designed to ensure equal opportunity in educational settings. Title IX mandates that colleges and universities investigate these types of claims and undertake steps to curtail gender-based misconduct. Despite its virtuous intent, Title IX investigations and disciplinary proceedings all-too-often fall short of exacting equal and fair treatment of the involved parties, particularly those who have been accused of wrongdoing.

Examples of Title IX “offenses” include:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Relationship violence

Amid the #MeToo movement and the nation’s growing awareness of sexual misconduct, Title IX has had a transformative effect on how educational institutions handle sexual assault and misconduct allegations. While that provides a platform for victims’ voices to be heard, it isn’t always the best for those who stand accused – in fact, it can be quite dangerous for their rights and futures.

Title IX Defense & Hearing Representation

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and education programs to enforce Title IX, and provides guidance as to how institutions adjudicate allegations brought by students, staff, or faculty.

Here are a few important things to know about Title IX proceedings and your rights when waging a defense:

  • Not Criminal Cases – Title IX investigations and any subsequent hearings are NOT criminal matters. They are administrative proceedings handled by schools. As such, they do not adjudicate matters using the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but rather lower standards of a “preponderance of the evidence” (meaning, generally, “more likely than not”) or “clear and convincing evidence,” provided it’s consistent with what’s applied in other misconduct cases.
  • Different Rules & Procedures – Title IX proceedings do not provide the same rights to defendants (i.e. due process rights), nor do they follow the same rules and procedures as they relate to matters of evidence, testimony, and more.
  • Serious Stakes & Repercussions – Title IX proceedings pose what can be devastating risks to accused individuals, including risks of disciplinary action that may come with profound consequences – such as suspension, expulsion, or referral to law enforcement for criminal investigation or formal charges involving sex crimes and other offenses.
  • Defense Against Claims – In addition to providing alleged victims with the right to file complaints and have their matters addressed by administrators, Title IX proceedings must provide both parties with equal opportunities to present any witnesses, evidence, cross-examination or submission of questions, and defense arguments which support their side.
  • Appeals – Schools are not required under Title IX to allow for appeals, but if they do, they may only allow either the accused or both the accused and the claimant to appeal.

For anyone accused of misconduct under Title IX, it is important to understand the legal right to a fair hearing from an educational institution. At Friedman & Nemecek, our attorneys have the knowledge of Title IX law necessary to represent the accused, and aggressively defend their rights.

Related Criminal Investigations & Charges

Though Title IX proceedings are not criminal matters, they can create exposure to law enforcement referrals, concurrent criminal investigations, and serious charges for offenses such as:

  • Sexual Imposition / Gross Sexual Imposition
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct
  • Sexual Battery
  • Rape
  • Stalking

Title IX creates strict guidelines for when schools and administrators must report cases to law enforcement, which has discretion over whether to investigate and / or prosecute.

While Title IX matters are not criminal cases in and of themselves, reporting requirements and the zealousness with which sex crimes are handled pose great potential for criminal allegations, as well as severe penalties that put prison time, felony records, and sex offender registration on the table.

Accused in Cleveland? Friedman & Nemecek Can Help.

Amid the extensive scrutiny placed upon school administrators, individuals facing Title IX allegations and disciplinary hearings face many obstacles to a fair handling of their cases.

Schools across the country have been found to unfairly limit the rights of the accused in Title IX matters, and some courts have deemed their Title IX processes unconstitutional. Protecting against overzealous administrators, unfair proceedings, and restricted rights demands experienced legal guidance.

We are currently accepting cases from students and faculty at all colleges and universities across the United States.

Whether you, your child, or someone you love has been accused of sexual misconduct under a school’s Title IX procedure, you can take steps to ensure a fair process by working with experienced defense attorneys from Friedman & Nemecek. Our legal team has represented many clients in Title IX matters, criminal investigations, and / or serious criminal cases – and are available to discuss how we may be able to protect your rights and future.

Call (888) 694-4645 or contact us online for a confidential review of your case. Our Title IX defense practice is helmed by Attorney Eric F. Long.

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