Colleges and universities today employ a diverse workforce, and allegations of sexual misconduct or assault can arise in many different contexts, from sports-related scandals to misconduct in the workplace to student sexual assaults.
These kinds of allegations can have profound implications for everyone involved. Issues of physical and mental health, privacy, rights of the accused, retaliation, and criminal and civil liability all hang in the balance. Additionally, in this age of the 24/7 news cycle, hyper-media coverage, and social media ubiquity, how reports of sexual misconduct are investigated and handled can impact a school’s reputation for years to come.
Here at Kroll, we understand the importance of institutional compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and of protecting students and employees from sexual misconduct. We are also cognizant of the responsibilities and challenges faced by employers in other sectors when such allegations arise in the workplace.
Kroll’s Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Investigations Practice offers the knowledge and insight of leading experts who have extensive experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct at educational institutions and at other organizations. We are especially mindful of the unique sensitivities and concerns when conducting these kinds of investigations and are prepared to address each client’s specialized investigative needs.
In addition to providing independent investigations and retrospective reviews, Kroll offers guidance on proactive and/or remedial measures that include assistance with policies and procedures as well as staff training and audits.
Independent and Fair Investigations
Given our firm’s reputation for independence and integrity, Kroll is often retained by academic institutions and other organizations to conduct sensitive internal investigations related to allegations of sexual assault or misconduct. Our team of professional investigators has decades of investigative experience in which our mission is to determine credibility, develop facts, and reach findings with independence and objectivity. We conduct our investigations with professionalism, discretion, and sensitivity to the legal, privacy, human resource, and other particular concerns of the case at hand.
As necessary, Kroll interviews relevant witnesses and examines pertinent documentation, such as written statements, medical records, email, and other communications. At the conclusion of our investigation, we deliver a confidential report of our findings and recommendations.
Policies and Procedures
Appropriately designed policies and procedures can help prevent avoidable crises, support more effective incident response, and demonstrate an organization’s commitment to student or employee safety. Leveraging the insights gained from conducting numerous investigations related to alleged sexual assault or misconduct, our experts can help identify where gaps and vulnerabilities might exist in policies and procedures. For clients in the education sector, particularly Title IX coordinators, we can review existing policies and procedures within the framework of applicable laws and guidance. Recommendations based on our findings will focus on how student and employee safety can be enhanced and provide clear direction for how staff should respond when allegations or incidents arise.
Training and Audits
Staff training can be highly beneficial for helping to ensure an organization’s response to allegations of sexual assault or misconduct is compliant with not only relevant laws and regulations, but also an education institution’s internal policies and procedures. Training provides opportunities for individual staff members to understand what their roles encompass and to carry out their responsibilities with confidence if it ever becomes necessary.
Our experts can lead dynamic training sessions with staff, providing them with practical information on topics that include:
- Understanding the purpose of an investigation and when an investigation is warranted
- Organizing and planning the investigation
- Interviewing witnesses – what to do and not do
- What to include in the interview memo
- Drafting a final report of findings
- Ethical considerations
- If possible, how to preserve evidence and follow chain of evidence protocols
- How a school’s Title IX investigation differs from a law enforcement investigation
Kroll experts can also conduct lookback audit engagements, where we evaluate an educational institution’s prior responses to complaints of sexual misconduct and, if applicable, suggest areas for improvement.