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National Title IX Defense Attorneys For College Coaches
- Case Results
- List of Schools
Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.
Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings
Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.
Large private university
Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation
We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.
Small private college
Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed
Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.
Midsized private collegeSee More Case Results
"I am writing to let any college student who gets accused of something serious by their school know that they need a lawyer like Felice Duffy to defend them. I was accused of something terrible by a student that I would never do and didn’t do. Even though I knew exactly what actually happened, I was very scared that my university might not find me innocent.
It was terrifying to think that I might lose my full basketball scholarship or could have been suspended or expelled and that me and my family’s name could have gotten a horrible reputation.
I can’t even put into words how I excited I was when I got the letter from the school that cleared me completely of the charges against me and I have Felice to thank for that 100%. Since I’m not in Connecticut, Felice and her investigator used video conferencing to interview me and my witnesses, talk with my parents, and get me fully prepared for every meeting I had with my school. They got all my texts and email that proved my innocence and organized them perfectly for the Dean and the discipline committee.
Felice was always very direct and respectful even though the subject matter was very personal, and she was always ahead of the school in terms of getting me and them important information at every step. It was like having the best scouting report ever." Felice obviously knows her stuff but she also deeply cares. You can tell that she loves the work she’s doing to help college kids in really difficult situations."
College Sophomre, Colorado
“I hired Duffy Law in the middle of a Title IX sexual assault proceeding. While I had initially retained another attorney on a recommendation, it turns out they did not have much insight to the inner workings of university policy, which I learned is NOT required to follow the basic laws of due process.
Felice was absolutely incredible, and as an athlete, she understood my thought process and feelings the entire way. This is what stood out the most to me. At the beginning of my school’s adjudication process, I was an absolute mess. Not only is Felice extremely knowledgeable in law and how school adjudication processes work, but she also really does care about her clients and their well-being.
It was initially extremely tough for me to speak about what I was facing. Felice was able to assist me not only in compiling the proper evidence and responding to the school, but also put me in the right state of mind to defend myself and move on with my life after it was all completed. Prior to hiring Duffy Law, I was concerned that I would be relegated to working with a legal assistant or secretary being that my case was in a college setting as opposed to a state court. However, Felice always found a way to make time and was there every step of the way.
I feel like an important part of hiring an attorney is being able to trust them to fight for you no matter what the scenario may be and you can rest assured you will be getting that with Duffy Law. I would recommend Felice Duffy of Duffy Law 10 times out of 10 to anyone that may be put in a tough situation like I was”
Female College Freshman, Massachusetts
“The claims leveled against me were terrible, but the wonderful news is that I was fully cleared of all the allegations because of the outstanding work Christine Brown and the team at Duffy Law did on my behalf. The first thing that really impressed me was that from the very first call Christine quickly understood what was going on and was able to read between the lines to understand the complicated dynamics of the situation. Despite my entire career being spent in academia, I didn't know much about Title IX procedures. Her expertise and knowledge of the process was immediately apparent and critically helpful in guiding me and giving me as much peace of mind as possible..
Christine knew how to spot the important subtext throughout the process and made sure I understood the strategic options I had at every stage going forward. I felt very confident in the decisions we made together. I felt vindicated by the decision and that this situation will have no further effects on my career. I am very grateful to Christine and Duffy Law for guiding me through this stressful process and recommend them without reservation to any faculty member facing a similarly challenging situation. ”
Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at a midwest university
“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You’re presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.
Duffy Law’s truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. They made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). They worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right people in his corner to defend him. They gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.
Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for. I have already recommended Duffy Law to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend them to any student or parent without reservation.”
Parent of a male southwest private college seniorSee All Client Testimonials
Schools Where We've Handled Cases
Here are some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Bard College
- Bates College
- Belmont Abbey College
- Bowling Green State University
- Brandeis University
- Brown University
- Cal State Polytechnic University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Colorado State University
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Creighton Law School
- Dartmouth College
- Elim Bible Institute and College
- Emmanuel College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Fordham University
- Furman University
- George Fox University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Johns Hopkins University
- LaSalle University
- Lesley University
- Louisiana State University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Michigan State University
- Mississippi University
- Nichols College
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rice University
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- Southern Connecticut State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Swarthmore College
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Texas A/M, College Station
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Buffalo
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Riverside
- University of Central Florida
- University of Connecticut
- University of Hartford
- University of Kansas
- University of Lynchburg
- University of Maryland
- University of Mass. Med. School
- University of Miami
- University of Missouri
- University of Nebraska
- University of New Haven
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Pittsburg
- University of Redlands California
- University of Rhode Island
- University of Texas
- University of Vermont
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
- University of Wyoming
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Vance-Granville Community College
- Vassar College
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University, St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Western Washington University
- Wheaton College
- William Smith College
- Yale University
- Youngstown State University
Defending College Athletic Coaches against Serious Allegations
Coaches at colleges and universities across the country can face allegations of inappropriate conduct under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, yet many athletics coaches do not have a full and complete understanding of their rights and obligations under the federal law. Depending upon the coach’s specific role, a head coach might also be responsible in some capacity for Title IX allegations made against an assistant coach who was under their management. When a coach faces a Title IX investigation, the consequences can be extremely serious. Indeed, even allegations can harm a coach’s reputation at a college or university, and if a coach is found responsible for Title IX violation, the coach ultimately can be suspended or terminated from the job. Once a coach has been terminated as a result of a Title IX investigation, it can be difficult or even impossible to find another position in a college or university athletics department.
Given the potential ramifications of Title IX allegations against an athletics coach, it is critical to have one of our experienced national Title IX defense lawyers assess your case and discuss your options for handling the investigation and outcome.
Types of Title IX Issues Affecting College Athletics Coaches
Title IX specifically states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in or be discriminated against within any education program or activities that receive federal funding. The federal law prohibits sex discrimination in colleges and universities, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. The law also requires colleges and universities to have Title IX policies in place for handling sexual misconduct allegations.
While Title IX cases can arise under various types of circumstances in colleges and universities, the following are some of the most common reasons for Title IX allegations or complaints involving coaches:
- Unlawful sex discrimination against an athlete
- Sex discrimination in student athlete recruitment
- Discrimination against a pregnant student athlete or a pregnant assistant coach
- Allegation of a coach sexually harassing an athlete, including making inappropriate comments about the student athlete’s uniform or body
- Allegation of sexual misconduct of a coach, including sexual assault, which may include inappropriate touching
- Allegation that a coach covered up sexual misconduct by another coach or a student athlete
- Failure of coach to comply with other Title IX provisions
- Retaliation against coaches for raising concerns about Title IX violations within the athletic program
Touching During Practice
Depending upon the sport and the context, some touching by coaches may be necessary during practice. However, unnecessary touching may rise to the level of sexual harassment. Touching during practice typically may lead to a Title IX investigation if the touching is unwelcome or inappropriate, or if it is violent. If a student indicates discomfort with touching during practice, and the touching is unnecessary, any additional touching could constitute sexual harassment and, accordingly, a Title IX violation.
Saying Inappropriate Comments About Uniforms
When a student athlete alleges that a coach has made, or continues to make, inappropriate comments about uniforms or student bodies in uniforms, such comments may constitute sexual harassment and could violate Title IX. When inappropriate comments are so severe or are pervasive, they may constitute sexual harassment and thus could violate a student-athlete’s rights under Title IX.
Sex Discrimination and Harassment By Coaches
As we noted above, a coach touching a student-athlete during practice or making inappropriate comments about a student-athlete’s uniform may constitute sexual harassment, which is a form of sex discrimination. Other examples of sex discrimination and harassment that could result in a Title IX investigation include but are not limited to:
- Refusing to allow a student-athlete to play after learning of her pregnancy
- Cutting a pregnant student-athlete from the team because of the pregnancy
- Making inappropriate comments about a student-athlete’s body
- Inappropriately touching a student-athlete
- Making repeated discriminatory comments about student-athletes or other people based on sex
- Repeatedly making jokes about people of a particular sex
- Displaying sexually explicit materials in a locker room or other area that athletics employees and student-athletes must use
A coach can face allegations of sexual assault under Title IX, but it is important to know that sexual assault allegations also may result in criminal charges.
Sexual relationships between coaches and students are often prohibited by a college or university Title IX policy, or a staff policy manual or handbook might expressly state that such relationships are prohibited and constitute violations of Title IX. While the NCAA’s position does not govern a school’s development of its Title IX policy or a school’s investigation of an alleged Title IX violation, the NCAA says that any sexual relationship between a coach and a student athlete is abusive: “Because of [the] power differential, any amorous or sexual relationship between coaches and student-athletes constitutes sexual abuse.” Indeed, the NCAA says, “the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship in intercollegiate sport make any sexual contact between a coach and an athlete abusive, regardless of whether it was wanted by the athlete and regardless of whether the athlete is over the age of consent.”
Whether or not a sexual relationship between a coach and a student constitutes a Title IX violation will depend in part on the policies in place at the particular institution. If you are facing a Title IX complaint as a coach because of a relationship with an adult student athlete, you should seek advice from an attorney about how the college or university policy is likely to apply to your case.
How a National Title IX Defense Lawyer Can Help
Currently, coaches and trainers are not required to report concerns about Title IX violations involving other assistant coaches or student athletes, but the regulations could change.
If you are facing a Title IX investigation, it is essential to have an experienced national Title IX defense attorney on your side. Although the Title IX investigation and hearing process will not work like a courtroom in which you can hire a lawyer to represent you before a sexual misconduct board, for example, you can seek advice about handling a Title IX complaint and doing everything you can to prevent a mishandled case. Contact Duffy Law, LLC for more information about Title IX cases and defense strategies for coaches and other employees in college and university athletics programs.
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