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The Burden of Proof in Title IX Cases

Title IX By Harvey Binnall PLLC - 2020/01/31 at 12:19pm

Experienced Title IX Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the school setting (including private universities), then the internal proceedings may come under the ambit of Title IX.  Though Title IX was originally intended as a safeguard against discrimination, it has expanded over the decades to protect the victims of sexual misconduct, giving them access to an institutional process through which to punish the perpetrator-student.

Depending on the school and the nature of the problematic action, the Title IX dispute may give rise to a wide range of penalties, including academic suspension, expulsion, mandatory counseling, and more.  It can also lead to social stigma for the accused — even if they are proven innocent.

Title IX proceedings have come under fire in recent years, particularly as they operate quite differently to how one might expect a similar proceeding to operate in the traditional court system.  Among the most pervasive criticisms of Title IX is that the student-accused can be found “guilty” of sexual misconduct under a much less strict evidentiary standard: the preponderance of the evidence standard.

Preponderance of the Evidence

In criminal litigation, the defendant is subject to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, which safeguards their rights sufficiently, given the potentially high-severity of the punishment at-issue.  By contrast, Title IX proceedings — despite the undoubtedly severe social and career ramifications of a student being saddled with a guilty verdict for sexual misconduct — need only operate on the “preponderance of the evidence” standard.  In other words, the complainant-accuser can establish sexual misconduct if they introduce sufficient evidence to make their claims more likely true than not.

This lower evidentiary standard is further made problematic by the fact that in many Title IX proceedings, the accused is not granted the right to cross-examine the complainant and is not even given adequate notice of the charges being brought against them.  For this reason, it is absolutely critical that you consult with a qualified Title IX defense lawyer who can fight for your rights at every stage of the process and ensure that you are not stripped of every possible legal protection that could give you an advantage.

Contact Harvey & Binnall, PLLC for Legal Assistance

Here at Harvey & Binnall, PLLC, our defense attorneys have extensive experience handling Title IX disputes from beginning-to-end.  We understand the unique challenges facing the accused in Title IX investigations, and the unfair nature of how such claims are prosecuted.  In many instances, the life of the accused can be completely upturned despite a lack of evidence and credibility on the part of the accuser.

We provide the assistance necessary to defend the accused in a manner that emphasizes their legal rights, and that protects their dignity throughout the process.  Call us at 703-888-1943 or complete an intake form online to schedule a consultation with an experienced Title IX defense lawyer at our firm.