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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
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A female colleague has falsely accused my boy friend of sexual

Customer Question

A female colleague has falsely accused my boy friend of sexual harassment, harassment, coercion, and stalking. They were in a relationship till the end of May. Now, she has been asked to leave to university due to poor performance in academics. She is blaming my boyfriend for it. And has now filed a case with the university officials.
We are trying to fight this case with the text messages we have as proofs. Could you let us know what important aspects we should cover while presenting our facts. We have over 200 pages of text messages of two months. how should we summarize those
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you! Although you did not say explicitly, I am assuming you, your boyfriend and his accuser are all students, and are not faculty or staff at the university.

There are several aspects to this problem that come to mind, and the answer to your question may not be as simple as you believe. Let's cover the aspects of this problem one by one.

First, big picture: Tell your boyfriend to get a lawyer, immediately, and to postpone any disciplinary hearing at school if necessary until he has spoken to an attorney. Like anyone, he is entitled to be represented by counsel. If you do not know an attorney, call the local or state bar association and request names of qualified attorneys in your area who handle school disciplinary and/or criminal defense matters. (More on this later.) He will need legal advice beforehand and assistance at the hearing, if the university rules permit attorneys to be present. I cannot stress this point enough. It is possible that you and your boyfriend, by going to this hearing and presenting your side of the story, could be setting your boyfriend up for a much bigger problem (or problems) down the road.

University hearing
What you should or shouldn't do largely depends on how the disciplinary hearing is conducted. Generally speaking, these hearings often follow the trial process you would think of in a court of law: the complainant (i.e. his ex) will go first and present her case; your BF will have his chance to rebut her claims and to present his own evidence; there might be a chance for summation or argument at the end; and then a decision will be made.

Step one: find out as much as you can about what happens during the process. That will help you structure your presentation. There should be some procedure and/or rules published about these hearings. It may be on your university website or somewhere in all the pamphlets and other papers and whatnot you and your boyfriend got at some point.

Some issues you should consider before the hearing: can people just come in, say what they want, and leave? Do witnesses have to be physically present and sworn under oath? Does the disciplinary board consider affidavits as evidence? Can a person make objections (such as hearsay, opinion, relevancy, or foundational objections) to statements made by certain witnesses? What is the standard that has to be met before a person is found culpable of wrongdoing or meriting discipline for these types of accusations? Who are the people who decide? All faculty, faculty and students, lay persons from the community, or a combination of some or all of these? Can you use PowerPoint or other types of demonstrative evidence?

Obviously, I do not know the answers to these questions, but you should before you go to the hearing. Thus, all these considerations are why I advise you to get an attorney. That person will probably know or have a much easier time navigating these questions and ensure that your BF gets the fairest process he can. It will be well worth the money.

If you do not use an attorney and do this on your own, you should next decide what your overall strategy is going to be. What is the theme of your presentation? Here's a theme: the ex is nothing more than a woman scorned who got herself kicked out of school because she has bad grades, and now she's just trying to drag your BF down with her. You should pick a theme because it will help you structure your defense. Your BF will obviously deny the charges and say why she's wrong, but it will help if you ALSO show why she is lying about her claims. As I said before, the ex has an ax to grind: she's pissed because you stole her man AND she's got to explain to Mom and Dad why she got expelled from school. Since you are better acquainted with the facts and who this girl is, maybe you can come up with a better theme or strategy to the presentation.

Whatever the theme you choose, you can use the texts for a variety of reasons. Just use the texts to show your theme. For example, show that the ex was texting back and forth willingly with your BF and there was no signs of animosity between them. The ex was still friendly with him during the period when she claims to have been harassed. Maybe she threatened him, not the other way around. Once you figure out the strategy or overall theme to your presentation, use the texts which, in the big picture, prove what you're saying. You will probably overwhelm the people hearing the case with ALL 200 pages of texts. Parse through them carefully and pick and choose the ones you think best prove your point.

One more suggestion: practice, practice, practice. Don't just show up the day of the hearing and start rambling on about what a crazy NUT this ex is. Write down what you and your BF want to say, proofread and revise it, make it cogent and clear, and say it out loud so you and your BF can get used to saying the things you want to say. Speaking in public is a skill. Most people get nervous, and then forget to say certain things, or phrases come out wrong, etc. If you have practiced your presentation, it will come across more polished and will ultimately be more effective and persuasive. (That's the whole point, right?)

Finally, it goes without saying that you should dress the part. Wear your Sunday best, XXXXX XXXXX one calls it. Dress clothes, a suit, a tie, dress shoes, etc. Look professional and give off the impression that you take this hearing seriously. Don't use slang. Address the panel as "yes ma'am, no sir" etc. Keep a calm and professional demeanor, and don't become angry. After all, people who have done nothing wrong have no reason to get upset, right?

Civil liability
Part of the reason I suggested getting legal advice immediately is that the ex could use this as a warm up to file a civil lawsuit against your BF. You used the term "sexual harassment" in your question. That term, as applied in law, can form the basis as a lawsuit. Most often, however, that sort of lawsuit is between employees and their employer. It is usually not used to sue between equals. (i.e. Two students, two co-workers, etc.)

Nonetheless, it is possible that the ex could still SUE your BF for damages (i.e. money) in a civil court if the ex claims he did certain things to her. There are a variety of legal theories she could potentially use to claim that your BF is liable to her. (These vary by state, and I do not know what state you are in.) By going to the university hearing and defending himself without first getting legal advice, your BF (and maybe you, too) could potentially say or do something that would give the ex information she could use later in a lawsuit.

What if the university rules against the ex and clears your BF of any wrongdoing? Do you really think the ex will just say, "Oh, golly gee, oh well..." and then shake both your hands and walk away? NOT!

If your BF wins the university hearing, the ex might just try to go to round #2, and file a lawsuit. If she was nuts enough to file a claim with the university folks, what makes you think she won't go to court, especially if she loses? Think about it. Tread carefully. You and your BF need a lawyer.

Criminal case
Stalking, sexual battery (not harassment), coercion, etc. are all be crimes in most, if not all, states. What if your BF wins the hearing at the university and the ex says, "Oh yeah? You think you won? You ain't seen nothing yet!!" Then she goes to the police and makes all sorts of wild claims. Add in an overly-zealous prosecutor and a few police officers or detectives who interview your BF and get him to say exactly what they need to pigeon hole him into a confession, and, POOF, you've got a felony trial on your hands.

I cannot TELL you how many young, middle-aged, even elderly men (no joke) I have defended against false claims of rape, sodomy, sexual battery, etc. The way I show that my clients are innocent is by fighting tooth and nail every step of the way and by going to trial. They get their day in court, and I do everything I can to win their case. But there always IS the possibility that they will lose and go to the penitentiary for a long, LONG time. Life sentences, sometimes. It would be a lot simpler if the whole trial thing never came into play. (Although I suppose I wouldn't make any money that way, come to think of it.)

Remember the Duke Lacrosse players who got accused of rape in 2006? The lives of those young men were turned upside down for MONTHS due to a completely false accusation. Fortunately, that case ended well before trial. That is unusual. It RARELY happens this way.

Here's a little known secret about criminal trials: the truth doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the perception of the truth. I am saying this because many people naively believe that, "since so-and-so didn't really do anything wrong, I'm sure he'll never be charged" or "he'll be acquitted at trial, even if he gets charged," or "that chick (the ex) is so crazy no one will ever believe her," etc. NO. Don't fall into this trap.

Your BF, just like everyone, has a right to remain silent. If he waives that right and makes statements at his university hearing, those COULD later come back to haunt him if this crazy ex goes to the police and makes up all sorts of lies about him. If you and your BF do NOT get legal advice before the university hearing, it is possible that your BF will be setting himself up to face serious criminal charges, not even realizing the damage he's doing to himself.

Conclusion

I don't want to come across as paranoid, or make you think that I believe there is is a conspiracy around every corner, or that the whole world is going to end. (I suppose it will actually end one day...hopefully not any time soon.) But, as an attorney, I must always be on the lookout for the worst case scenario about any given situation. In the situation you described, the worst case scenario for your BF could be the rest of his life in prison. This is serious business. I'm not being dramatic here.

Get. An. Attorney.

Good luck to you both. I hope I have helped you with the question you asked and given you some "other" things (LOL) to think about. If you find my response helpful, please rate it positively so that I can receive credit for my work.

Take care,
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1242
Experience: Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and 6 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again!

I am writing to follow up with you to see how everything is going. Did my response to you help? I sure hope so! If so, please rate my response to your question positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Otherwise, please let me know how else I might be able to help you.

Thank you again for the opportunity to assist you. I wish you the very best with this matter!
Shuband
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
,
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again!

I was notified that you accepted the answer I gave. I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the legal matters we discussed turn out well.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again!

I was notified that you accepted the answer I gave. I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the legal matters we discussed turn out well.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband

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S. Huband, Esq.
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