The Burden of Proof

Mandatory under Title IX: The evidentiary standard is the "preponderance of the evidence," or that it's more likely than not that sexual violence occurred.

The burden of proof - preponderance of the evidence - is an unfortunate departure from normal criminal law.

The time-honored burden of proof in criminal law has always been "proof beyond a reasonable doubt," which demands that a jury of your peers find you guilty only if there is no reasonable doubt that you've committed the crime for which you've been charged.

This is not so in Title IX cases.

Government Focus on Sexual Violence at College

In a Nov. 2015 blog post on WhiteHouse.gov, Vice President Joe Biden urged students and school administration to take a pledge ("It's On Us") to recognize that sex without consent is sexual assault and, as such, a crime. Biden wrote, "You have to demand that your Universities be held accountable."

A few years earlier, Biden gave a speech held on the campus of a university, in which he stressed the burden of proof in Title IX cases, which is the preponderance of the evidence standard, not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Dept. of Education - the government agency that enforces the law under Title IX - has issued similar guidance in its Dear Colleague letters.

Private Administration of Serious Accusations

Ordinarily, citizens accused of serious crimes (like sexual assault) will be charged by the state with a misdemeanor or felony offense. The burden of proof will be guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor will be required to gather sufficient evidence proving guilt in a public court of law.

In Title IX cases, however, the school administration - through the Title IX Coordinator - is responsible for investigating accusations of sexual assault or other misconduct. It is also responsible for taking disciplinary action against the person accused.

  • Title IX enforcement does not take place in a court of law, but privately, and given the lower burden of proof, the potential for railroading the accused student's rights is enormous.

Don't Hesitate to Call Roberts Law Group, PLLC

The preponderance of the evidence standard is in fact that lowest burden of proof available to a trier of fact, be it a judge, jury, or school administration.

If you're facing accusations, dial 866-630-2389 for a free consultation. From our offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, we defend students facing serious accusations of sexual misconduct under Title IX - from rape to taking pictures of sexual activity - throughout the state.

North Carolina vs. O.S.
Charge: First Degree Forcible Rape and First Degree Kidnapping
Facing: 26 - 33 years in prison
Result: Dismissed

Case involved allegations of forcible rape at gun point. We were able to gather evidence to attack the accuser's credibility and discredit her story. The prosecution dismissed the charges.

Read more results