Due Process in Title IX Cases
- 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 was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.
“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.
Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice 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 Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”
Parent of a private college senior
“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.
In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.
Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.
Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.
Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”
Parent of a College Sophomore, OhioSee More Client Testimonials
Colleges We Serve
Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Bowling Green State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Dartmouth College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Lesley University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Mississippi University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Connecticut
- University of Kansas
- University of Mass. Med. School
- University of Miami
- University of Missouri
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Texas
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University at St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Wheaton College
- Yale University
Title IX provides due process to both complainants and respondents in sexual assault cases on the campuses of educational institutions or at school-sponsored events. Due process refers to the procedures and rules that ensure the fair treatment of individuals who are involved in disputes. The Office For Civil Rights, however, recently created considerable confusion and uncertainty about certain aspects of Title IX investigations and the rights afforded to all parties involved.
At Duffy Law, we understand the complicated and personal natures of these cases and work with both Title IX complainants and respondents. We strive to minimize the disruptions these investigations can cause and are committed to holding schools responsible when they violate the rights of faculty, staff, and students. To schedule a consultation with one of our Connecticut Title IX lawyers, call Duffy Law today at (203) 946-2000 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Title IX: Due Process Basics
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination at academic institutions that receive federal funding—which is virtually all schools, including all public high schools, colleges, and universities. The law requires schools to take appropriate measures when a student files a complaint alleging sexual assault. This is true whether the alleged assault took place on campus or at an off-campus event. Both victims and the accused have due process rights in all investigations and hearings. Under Title IX, however, schools can violate a person’s due process rights in a sexual assault case through:
- A biased or inadequately trained hearing panel
- An inability to introduce evidence
- The refusal of a request to cross-examine a witness, the accuser, or the accused
- Interfering with attempts to consult an attorney
- An application of the wrong standard of proof
- Nondisclosure of evidence against the accused
Due process requirements can vary widely based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The best way to protect your due process rights is to contact an attorney as soon as you can. If, however, your case has already come to a conclusion and you believe that a school violated your due process rights, an attorney may still help after the fact. In addition, you may initiate a Title IX enforcement action against your school that could potentially result in compensation for you. To discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney, call our office today.
Title IX Changes May Favor the Due Process Rights of the Accused
Many see changes to the law outlined in recently issued Office For Civil Rights (OCR) guidance as strengthening the rights of the accused. Previous guidance issued by the Obama administration required schools to use a legal standard of proof referred to as the “preponderance of the evidence.” Under this standard, to adjudicate the accused guilty, a hearing panel only needed to find that it was more likely than not that the alleged assault occurred. Under the new guidance, schools may choose between this standard and the more stringent standard of “clear and convincing evidence,” which lies somewhere between the “preponderance” standard and proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is used in criminal prosecutions.
The changes were made in response to what some saw as schools going too far to protect victims’ rights to the detriment of the accused’s rights to due process. A perceived injustice that the changes seek to eliminate are schools’ overuse of “interim measures” that can hurt the accused’s ability to continue to pursue studies during a pending investigation. Interim measures that schools can employ while a sexual assault case is pending include:
- Issuing a no-contact order between the parties involved
- Changes to living arrangements
- Changes to class schedules
- Changes to employment
- Exclusion from certain facilities or school-related activities
- A mandatory leave of absence
Anecdotally, many people were accused of sexual misconduct and had their lives upended, and only later did the schools clear them of any wrongdoing. In extreme cases, the above interim measures were so disruptive that they forced people to leave school and never return. Instances like these motivated some changes to the law, which seek to restore due process rights to people who were accused of sexual assault—much to the chagrin of victims’ rights advocacy organizations.
Other changes to the law, in addition to allowing schools to raise the standard of proof, include:
- Schools must afford any rights or opportunities made available to one party to the other party.
- Schools are not allowed to used fixed operating assumptions or rules that favor accusers over the accused in investigations related to sexual assault.
- Schools no longer have to resolve Title IX cases within 60 days.
Call Duffy Law Today to Speak with a Connecticut Title IX Attorney
If you are involved in a sexual assault case involving an investigation conducted by an academic institution, call an attorney as soon as possible, because the representation of a lawyer will ensure the full protection of your legal rights. At Duffy Law, our lawyers are familiar with both Title IX and college code violations, and we will do everything we can to bring your case to a successful resolution. To schedule a case evaluation with one of our Connecticut Title IX attorneys, call our office today at (203) 946-2000 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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