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Potential Defenses Against Title IX Sexual Misconduct Allegations

College students accused of sexual misconduct may be subject to disciplinary proceedings under Title IX, the statute that prohibits sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funding. Being found to have engaged in such conduct carries immediate and long-term repercussions. Understanding the process you are facing, as well as possible defenses, is vital to protecting your rights.

Each college has its own process for hearing and resolving alleged Title IX violations but they share common elements. Texas A&M’s Title IX process, for example, begins with a Title IX coordinator’s initial review of the complaint, followed by assignment to a case manager. An intake meeting is held to explore ways to informally resolve the case. If no resolution is reached, there follows an investigation that leads to issuance of a report. A disciplinary panel will review the report and any evidence and make a decision. Violations can result in suspension at a minimum and expulsion at a maximum. What’s more, the violation stays on the student’s academic record. Students expelled for a Title IX violation may have difficulty enrolling in another school and possibly in gaining employment.

Since Title IX proceedings are civil in nature, the rights of an accused student are less than those of a defendant in criminal court. However, there are defenses that can be raised, such as these:

  • Challenging the accuser’s credibility — Objective evidence may show that the allegations are false or that there is reason not to believe the accuser’s story. Examples of this evidence can include text messages, emails, social media posts or time records that are inconsistent with the claims.
  • Establishing that there was no Title IX violation — The accused may present evidence that puts the facts in a broader context that shows the conduct did not constitute sexual misconduct. For example, evidence of the accuser’s consent can establish that no violation occurred.
  • Presenting evidence of your character — Demonstrating that you are an individual of good moral character can raise doubts as to whether you would engage in such conduct. Character evidence can also result in a lesser punishment. Examples of character evidence are a lack of any prior accusation of misconduct and a history of service to the school or to the community.
  • Establish that the school failed to adequately investigate the matter — Showing that the school ignored or did not follow up on evidence that would have been helpful to your side of the case can weaken the argument that you should be found to have committed the alleged offense.

If you are accused of a Title IX violation, an attorney skilled in this field of law can analyze your case and possible defenses and can take immediate action to protect your rights and your academic and professional career.

Tylden Shaeffer, Attorney at Law P.C. in San Antonio represents students in central Texas who are facing accusations of violating Title IX. Contact us online or by telephone at (210) 227-1500 to schedule a consultation.

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Case Results
Intoxication Manslaughter – Reduced Sentence

While client was already on probation for DWI when arrested for Intoxication Manslaughter. Client pleaded guilty to the jury and jury awarded probation where State sought prison term from the jury.

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