Connecticut Title IX Lawyers: Representing Individuals Who Were Accused of Sexual Assault
Recent changes to Title IX have resulted in substantial uncertainty regarding the way the law requires schools to handle sexual assault investigations. These changes are intended to remedy what some observers believe was a bias against the accused that existed under guidance issued by the Obama administration. Due to uncertainty in how to apply these changes, however, schools are at significant risk of violating the rights of the accused during investigations into sexual assault, making it critical for anyone facing such allegations to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
At Duffy Law, we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we are committed to helping individuals accused of sexual assault move on with their lives with as little disruption as possible. We know how much allegations of sexual misconduct can disrupt a person’s life, and we work hard to protect the rights of the accused. To schedule a consultation with one of our Title IX attorneys, call Duffy Law today at (203) 946-2000 or contact us online.
Title IX Basics & Recent Changes
Title IX is a federal law that protects people from sex discrimination in educational activities and programs that receive federal assistance—which includes the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities in the United States. Title IX requires that schools take certain steps in response to allegations of sexual assault, including some that could significantly disrupt a person’s ability to continue studies—even before actual adjudication of guilt. Notable changes announced by the guidance recently issued by the Office For Civil Rights include:
- Academic institutions may not use fixed operating assumptions or rules that favor accusers over the accused in investigations related to sexual assault.
- An institution must make any rights or opportunities available to one party during an investigation available to the other party on equal terms.
- Schools do not need to complete a Title IX investigation within a particular time frame.
- When determining guilt in cases involving sexual assault, institutions may now choose between using a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing standard.
Everyone Accused of Sexual Assault Has Certain Rights
These changes are largely seen as strengthening the rights of the accused. For example, to establish responsibility of the accused, the previous guidance required schools to use an evidentiary standard known as “preponderance of the evidence” in sexual assault cases, under which the school is only required to show that it is more likely than not that a certain event happened. Now schools may choose to show that the accused is responsible by “clear and convincing evidence,” which is somewhere between the preponderance of the evidence standard and the standard used in criminal cases, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Among the most notable changes to the law: Schools no longer should use interim measures solely to protect the rights of those making allegations of sexual assault, and schools should not impose interim measures that deprive any student of an education. Interim measures commonly used by schools during sexual assault investigations include:
- Security escorts
- Increased patrols
- Changes to living arrangements
- Class schedule changes
- Exclusion from participation in certain activities
- Changes to employment
- Interim suspension
- No contact orders
- Limited access to certain facilities
As this list should make clear, interim measures have the potential to significantly damage the lives of the accused. In some cases, interim measures may even make it impossible for the accused to continue with their studies and may derail their professional aspirations—even if they are ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. Fortunately, the representation and advice of a lawyer familiar with Title IX can make sure that your school does not violate your rights and that your life is disrupted as little as possible during a pending investigation.
Retain a Title IX Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you were accused of sexual assault on campus, retaining an attorney sooner rather than later can have a significant impact on the ultimate resolution of your case. Even in cases where an attorney cannot represent you during school proceedings, the advice of an attorney can significantly help. In addition, should a concurrent criminal investigation take place into the allegations, an attorney can protect your rights and ensure that the police do not coerce you into saying something that indicates your guilt. The outcome of sexual assault cases often turns on circumstantial evidence, so anyone facing allegations of sexual assault should have an attorney start building a defense as soon as possible.
Call Duffy Law Today to Speak with a Connecticut Title IX Attorney
Mere allegations of sexual assault on campus have the potential to ruin your reputation and destroy your life. In the event that allegations result in a formal investigation, your school could subject you to significant sanctions—many of could disrupt your life for months, even if you are ultimately adjudicated not guilty by the body conducting your hearing. For this reason, do everything you can to protect your legal rights—and start by retaining an attorney. A lawyer familiar with Title IX can help protect your rights during the investigation and may help you take legal action against your school in the event that your school violates your rights under the law. To schedule a case evaluation with one of our Connecticut Title IX lawyers, call Duffy Law today at (203) 946-2000. If you would prefer to send us an email, please fill out and submit our online contact form available here.