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An Overview of Title IX Sexual Misconduct Defense

Any college or university in the United States that receives federal funding must comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This landmark legislation mandates certain standards for how postsecondary institutions, including all public colleges and universities in Virginia, handle cases of sexual assault and sexual discrimination on their campuses.

The statute reads as follows:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Under Title IX, schools must also establish clear processes for handling sexual misconduct allegations and designated personnel to handle sexual violence issues. All parties involved in a case must have access to advisors and appeals and the ability to present evidence.

In the era of #MeToo, it is critical for schools and individuals to understand their rights and responsibilities under Title IX.

Defending Title IX claims

The standard of proof in Title IX claims is lower than what one might see in a criminal case. It is a “more likely than not” standard, rather than a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard. There does not need to be unimpeachable proof that a person committed the act in question to be found guilty.

While this standard presents its challenges, it is not impossible to defend yourself in a Title IX case. Below are some common defense strategies:

  • Secure experienced legal counsel: The attorney you work with should have experience handling sexual misconduct cases, specifically those related to Title IX on college campuses.
  • Familiarize yourself with the school’s policies: Every institution has policies and procedures beyond what the federal standards set. You and your attorney should be aware of all the policies specific to your school and your rights under them.
  • Gather evidence: You cannot trust your school to provide much assistance, so it’s up to you to collect any evidence that can support your defense. Your attorney should work to get witness statements, request evidence from the school and find out if there were any motives for the accuser to stretch the truth.

To learn more about how you can best defend yourself in a Title IX case, speak with a skilled Virginia attorney at Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. Call us at 434-973-7474 or contact us online to get started. We have three offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra (Across from Food Lion), and Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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