Title IX Defense Attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio
Sexual Misconduct Allegations & Administrative Hearings
Although an anti-discrimination law when passed in 1972, Title IX has become better known as the federal law which governs how colleges and educational institutions handle allegations of gender discrimination and sexual misconduct – including the investigation and hearing process to which accused individuals are subject.
While Title IX provides a platform for alleged victims to step forward with complaints against students, staff, or faculty, its administrative nature and the surrounding social climate make for a minefield of potential risks and due process violations for the accused. Those risks can come with permanent and life-altering repercussions.
At Friedman & Nemecek, our Title IX attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, leverage decades of experience in criminal law and administrative defense matters to protect clients’ rights amid Title IX investigations, disciplinary hearings, and any potential criminal inquiries or criminal charges.
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;
- High schools, middle schools, and elementary schools
Because of its application to athletics, most notably at the collegiate level, Title IX gained much of its public visibility from changes in school sports programs. However, the law encompasses much more, and applies to discrimination based on sex in any aspect of education, from course offerings and counseling to financial aid, student health services and insurance, and employment.
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. It includes any form of discrimination based on sex that denies a person the benefits of any education program or activity. That includes various forms of sexual misconduct in colleges and other federally funded education programs.
Examples of Title IX “offenses” include:
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual assault
- 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 that 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 in Ohio, 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
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.
- New Title IX Regulations Aim to Level the Playing Field in School Sexual Misconduct Cases
- Regulatory Changes Could Give Schools Greater Flexibility Over Title IX Cases
- What Can a Title IX Attorney Do for You?
Accused? Friedman & Nemecek Can Help.
Amid the extensive scrutiny placed upon school administrators, individuals facing Title IX allegations and disciplinary hearings in Ohio 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 process, 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.