Within the past year, Berry Law Firm has represented faculty and students
at universities who were accused of rape. In both instances, a Federal
Title IX hearing was held and the University officials found by a preponderance
of the evidence that the accused engaged in sexual misconduct. In both
cases, criminal charges were never filed.
While the Title IX policy makes sense, the execution of the policy lacks
At the Title IX hearings, the person accused of rape, sexual assault, or
sexual misconduct is notified that he must meet with a hearing officer
and is informed of his right to have an attorney. At the hearing, the
hearing officer provides a summary of the witness statement, but does
not provide police reports and other documentation to the accused’s
attorney. After the allegations are explained to the accused, the accused
is given the opportunity to respond.
In criminal cases, the defendant has the right to discovery, that means
that the defendant is going to have access to all evidence that is going
to be used against him. Additionally in a criminal case the defendant
has time to conduct an adequate and independent investigation.
It is important to protect our students from sexual predators on campus.
Furthermore, the universities have a duty to protect students from all
crimes. However, the rights of the accused also must be considered. Unfortunately,
the careers of faculty members, professors and students are placed in
jeopardy when they are not given a meaningful opportunity to refute allegations
made during a Title IX proceeding.