How to Respond to a Title IX Sex Assault Complaint in Texas

What to do and what to expect when you're facing a Title IX complaint

Talk to a Texas Title IX defense lawyer

Perhaps your son has been falsely accused of rape by a fellow student when, in fact, they had consensual sex, as texts and other evidence may confirm. If that spurs an investigation on campus, you should know how to respond to a Title IX sex assault complaint in Texas.

First and foremost, get help from the best Texas Title IX defense lawyer you can find. Your Title IX attorney will guide and support you throughout the process, from a Title IX hearing at a college or university to — if it comes to it — a sexual assault case in a state criminal court.

Your Title IX discrimination lawyer can determine the policies of the educational institution and how they pertain to Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination of any kind on the basis of sex at any school which receives federal funding. (That includes almost all colleges and universities — even private ones.)

Such policies may include definitions of what constitutes "consent" when it comes to sex between students, and those policies may differ from school to school. Sometimes consent to sexual activity is a matter of differing opinions of the students involved in the sex act, which can lead to a "she said, he said" argument at a Title IX hearing.

False complaints and unfair Title IX procedures

Why would people make false complaints about sexual assault? Why would someone lie about consensual sex?

Perhaps a female student's sexual activity was found out by a steady sex partner, and so she claimed sexual assault to avoid being labeled a "cheater." In such a case, the accused is innocent, but the stain remains — along with the difficulty of defending against a Title IX complaint.

In still other cases, an accuser may say they don't even remember the alleged sexual assault. But often, the accused is still suspended and isn't allowed to be on the same campus as the accuser. (Keep in mind that consent cannot be given by someone who has passed out, perhaps from consumption of alcohol or other drugs.)

False complaints and unfair Title IX procedures can deny accused persons the basic legal right of due process — a legal right to which they are constitutionally entitled. Your Texas Title IX defense lawyer can fight for you to protect that right.

Title IX investigation procedures

As for Title IX investigation procedures, federal guidelines hold that both parties have a right to produce witnesses and other evidence. And if the accused is denied an attorney, so must be the accuser.

Further, the school cannot allow only one party to be present for all of the hearing. If one party is present, then both must be. Similarly, both sides, not just one, must be allowed to submit third-party expert testimony. And both sides must be allowed to appeal.

Title IX procedures normally begin with a fact-finding investigation by the school, which is followed by a hearing. Then, there's a decision-making process to rule if the sexual misconduct did occur and, if so, what the penalties should be.

Since this is an administrative process and not a criminal proceeding, no fines or jail time will ensue. But a student can be suspended or expelled and can lose their academic standing, along with the ability to attend graduate school. A student may also be branded as a rapist despite a lack of evidence to prove it.

With #MeToo, presumption of innocence is threatened

The ongoing #MeToo movement of sex assault victims now coming forward to accuse abusers of sexual misconduct has exposed much wrongdoing, but in the process it's also produced a threat to the important criminal justice tenant of "presumption of innocence."

Presumption of innocence is a longstanding American legal concept that an accused person is considered innocent unless proven guilty. But after a Title IX sex assault complaint at an overzealous university most concerned about preserving its federal funding, your child may not be considered innocent until or unless proven guilty. Rather, they will be treated as guilty and then have to prove otherwise.

Indeed, in Title IX sex assault cases (and often in the world at large), punishments for alleged sexual assaults can begin with the accusation.

title ix investigation procedures: responding to a Title IX sexual assault complaint

Even in the world beyond cloistered universities, many individuals have lost their jobs, homes, reputation and social standing while being branded as a "rapist" — without ever having had their day in court to prove their innocence.

Under Title IX, many students have lost their academic standing and have been suspended from school before any hearing is held, or they've been punished after a perfunctory investigation and hearing which legitimately proved nothing.

Defense strategies for Title IX sex assault complaints

As these problems show, you need a Texas Title IX defense lawyer to prepare the best defense strategies possible for handling Title IX sex assault complaints. This attorney can fully investigate a college or university's Title IX policy — a policy which each institution sets for itself, and which may fail to meet federal standards for fairness. Your attorney can make that distinction.

If the policy is inherently unfair, then your Title IX discrimination lawyer can advise a college or university that it may be sued.

Your Title IX defense lawyer can also ensure that you make no statements to the school's Title IX officials which could be used against you in a Title IX hearing or even in an eventual criminal proceeding in court. Statements to your lawyer are privileged and confidential, but statements to a university official without legal expertise or legal standing are not.

It's also vital that your lawyer prepare you fully for the investigation and ensuing Title IX hearing. You should have a plan of how to respond to the complaint when dealing with the school's Title IX officials or coordinator.

Keep in kind that educational institutions which must abide by Title IX aren't necessarily concerned about your possible innocence. Rather, they may be most concerned about lawsuits against them and about losing federal funding if they're found to have violated the standards set by Title IX.

In short, college and university administrators may be more intent on protecting themselves than protecting the rights of the accused or the accuser.

Talk to a Title IX defense lawyer immediately

If your son or daughter faces an unfair claim of sexual assault at school, he or she needs a veteran Title IX defense lawyer on their side. Contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today to get help for such cases in Houston, Harris County, Montgomery County and Fort Bend County, Texas.

After you reach out to us, we will quickly provide you a confidential legal review of your case. Then, you can decide if we are the best Title IX defense lawyers for you.

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