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Title IX False Accusation Lawyers in Maine

impact of false Title IX accusations in Maine

Few people would disagree that anyone proven to have committed misconduct under Title IX deserves punishment. However, we also need to remember that false accusations of Title IX violations occur regularly.

The consequences of false accusations of sexual misconduct can be devastating. The respondent not only has to deal with the stress of an investigation, but the social stigma associated with such crimes can linger.

Someone wrongly implicated in sexual misconduct who makes an honest mistake or has done nothing wrong may carry this stigma for years and face consequences for their career, studies, relationships, and more.

While this is a situation nobody wants to face, you don’t have to go it alone. Legal assistance is available for those accused of sexual misconduct as well as the victims.

Learn More >> Title IX and Sexual Assault in Maine Schools

If you are the victim of a false allegation under Title IX, do not ignore it and hope the accusation will go away. Seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in Title IX claims. Your future career, liberty, and good name may depend on it.

A competent Title IX attorney will be able to unpick the claims and prove that the case should go no further.

Table of Contents

  1. Title IX Blog Posts 

What is a Title IX offense?

We won’t go into this in detail here as other posts have covered Title IX offenses in some depth.

Title IX refers to a federal civil rights law from 1972. Its primary goal was to protect students at publicly-funded schools, colleges and universities in the U.S. from discrimination based on sex. However, it has had a far broader impact and helped to expose sexual assault and other serious sex crimes in educational establishments.

The laws apply to most educational establishments across the country, including in Maine, where most universities and colleges receive some sort of government funding. All such schools must have a Title IX compliance policy, a process in place for handling complaints and a nominated Title IX coordinator.

In the current climate, where sexual discrimination and misconduct are in the spotlight on many fronts, Title IX allegations are on the rise. Many of the complaints refer to hiring policies or the exclusion of students from certain activities based on gender.

However, the following types of more serious sexual offenses are also covered by the legislation:

What should you do after a false Title IX accusation?

The first thing to do if you are falsely accused under Title IX is to take a deep breath and understand that it is only an accusation.

It’s normal to feel hurt, betrayed, and angry about the accusations and fearful of the consequences but under our U.S. Constitution, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Even if it is not a criminal case, you can clear your name with the right attorney.

Try to stay calm and take the steps that can help extricate you from the situation you’re in:

  • Speak to a qualified Title IX defense attorney: your attorney will advise you on your legal options, rights, and the recommended next steps.
  • Start gathering evidence: safeguard any information you have that backs up your version of events. While things are fresh in your memory, create a timeline and go through what happened with your lawyer.
  • Refer to the school’s code of conduct: every school must have a Title IX policy and procedure document freely available to its academic community – have your attorney read this to ensure that your school follows the correct Title IX procedure in your case.
  • Avoid contact with the complainant: your attorney will likely advise you not to talk to the complainant or anyone else at the school about the incident.

With calm, decisive action, you can protect yourself from further reputational damage and start to clear your name with the help of your Title IX defense attorney.

Pressure to investigate and adjudicate Title IX complaints

Your school will likely be under considerable pressure to investigate and adjudicate the complaint against you.

Sometimes, in Title IX cases, the accused may not enjoy the same right of innocence until proven guilty that the justice system in the U.S. provides.

Public schools are compelled to comply with Title IX guidelines promptly or face consequences. People want answers quickly and, with sexual misconduct cases in the spotlight, there is scant sympathy for the accused in most cases believing that “there is no smoke without fire”. A lack of attention is often paid to the respondent’s rights because of this. Sometimes, schools make mistakes in their haste and adjudicate these cases incorrectly.

We also need to understand that the burden of proof is generally lower in Title IX cases than in those within the criminal justice system. While this is up to each school to decide, the standard of proof used is often that guilt is more likely than innocence rather than the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

A Title IX attorney can help protect your rights. It is much more difficult for a school to ignore the rights of a respondent when he or she has legal representation. The school is also less likely to get away with mistakes in the process if you have a seasoned defense lawyer by your side.

What constitutes evidence in a Title IX investigation?

Sexual misconduct cases often come down to “he says, she says” scenarios. As we have seen, the burden of proof may not be very high and you can be adjudicated as having committed the offense much easier in a school case than a criminal case.

While rumors or hearsay might not be considered evidence in a court, they may count against you in a Title IX case in your school.

A Title IX attorney will seek other evidence beyond just a statement of innocence from you. This may include witness statements, character assessments, disciplinary statements and any relevant texts, emails, images, and other documents to build a case in your defense.

The true impact of false Title IX accusations

Many falsely accused people make the mistake of not taking the allegations seriously. They cannot conceive that the complainant could be successful with a false story.

Yet people are frequently wrongly accused and found guilty of sexual misconduct – and it can quickly turn their lives upside down.

The reputational damage of a false allegation and, worse, being found guilty of something you never did, can be extremely difficult to endure. To succeed in an educational career, you generally need to demonstrate impeccable character. A negative mark against your name – even an accusation – can impact your career and close doors that would otherwise have been open to you.

Accusations may impact not only your reputation but your long-term finances – far more seriously than the short-term legal costs of hiring a Title IX defense attorney.

Besides these long-term consequences, a guilty decision could lead to the following direct punishments from the school:

  • Expulsion
  • Probation
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Payment of reparations
  • Community service
  • Withholding of degree conferral
  • Being banned from participating in graduation ceremonies
  • Subject to a criminal investigation by the District Attorney

Because of the pressure on schools already mentioned, schools may not hesitate to hand out the most severe punishments possible in your case if you are found guilty.

How we can help defend your Title IX accusation?

You’ve seen that the cost of not clearing your name can be very high after a Title IX accusation.

Facing false accusations alone can be daunting and, generally speaking, your chances are greatly improved by accepting experienced legal assistance.

On your own, you are unlikely to be able to pick up on errors of protocol or process made by the school. School advisors may not offer you the support you need as their allegiances may lie with the school, or they’re trying to maintain strict neutrality in how they deal with both parties involved.

Even if your school does not permit an attorney to represent you at your hearing, you have the right to a legal advisor to be present during the investigation and while your case is heard.

Our Title IX defense attorneys are up-to-date with current (and evolving) Title IX regulations and how they are applied in the Maine educational system. We are used to probing and asking the right questions to uncover the truth. We are also familiar with scrutinizing Title IX policy documents in schools and know how to hold schools accountable for their actions and decisions.

In short, we will protect your rights, ensure that the school follows its own policies and provide the best opportunity for justice to prevail with the false accusation against you.

If you have been falsely accused of Title IX harassment, contact our firm directly online or call us at (207) 571-8146 to speak with an experienced Maine OUI defense lawyer who can help you.

 

Blog Posts

Title IX and Sexual Assault in Maine Schools
Sex Crimes Sexual Assault Title IX

Title IX and Sexual Assault in Maine Schools

Maine's schools have a duty not only to educate our youth, but to provide a safe environment for them to...
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