Concurrent Maryland Criminal Investigations and Title IX

Some Title IX investigations in Maryland schools are relatively simple matters involving exclusions from clubs or school functions because of a person’s sex. However, many other matters are serious issues concerning acts of violence or harassment.

When this is the case, you may certainly face an investigation by your school’s disciplinary board for inappropriate behavior. However, a school also has the obligation to report any apparent criminal acts that take place on their property or that affect their students. As a result, many alleged Title IX violations may give rise to concurrent Maryland criminal investigations and school disciplinary board hearings.

An attorney may be able to help you to protect your rights during both of these sessions. They can fight to protect your ability to continue your education while at the same time work towards protecting your future in a Maryland criminal court.

The Potential Criminal Nature of Title IX Violations

Title IX of the United States Education Code requires all schools that receive federal funding to take steps to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex on their campuses. A major part of this responsibility is investigating and punishing apparent crimes where an alleged victim suffers because of their sex. These can range in severity from harassment, to stalking, to dating violence, to rape.

Clearly, many of these instances of violence or threats are violations of Maryland’s criminal code. Just because the alleged activity takes place on the property of a college or university does not mean that the State cannot press charges.

In fact, schools have an obligation to report any apparent illegal activity that takes place on their property and will cooperate with local police to gather evidence and to protect alleged victims. As a result, any apparent Title IX violation that involves a violation of Maryland’s criminal code is also likely to spawn criminal charges.

Comparing Outcomes of School Title IX Investigations and Criminal Charges

While schools are required to report any alleged wrongdoing to local police, and may even share evidence, it is essential to remember that the outcomes of both cases are independent of each other. A student may avoid a conviction in criminal court but still suffer academic penalties. This is mainly because the two bodies have different rules concerning admissible evidence and the burden of proof.

Schools do not need to follow rules of evidence and may admit hearsay evidence into the record. At the same time, investigators only need to prove that it is more likely than not that an incident occurred.

If a student endures a conviction in criminal court, their school is also likely to use this conviction as proof that the incident occurred. This can result in severe penalties, most likely a suspension or expulsion based on the severity of the allegations. As a result, any criminal charges that follow an alleged Title IX violation are a great cause for concern.

Concurrent Maryland Criminal Investigations and Title IX Can Cause a Great Deal of Trouble

It is bad enough when your school believes that you have violated their code of conduct with respect to treating all students equally on the basis of sex. However, the situation becomes even more problematic when those allegations involve a crime. Even charges for simple harassment can have a profound impact on both your educational future and your very freedom.

An attorney could help you to understand the interplay between alleged Title IX violations and Maryland’s criminal code. Schools and local police will always work together to investigate alleged violations of the law.

An attorney could help you to understand the processes followed by both bodies. They can then work to defend your rights during all subsequent school disciplinary hearings and in the State’s criminal courts.