Colleges and universities under intense public and federal pressure to tamp down on campus sexual assaults are facing mounting accusations that they rush to judgment against the accused with biased policies and poorly trained hearing boards.
Just since March, six Ohio universities have been sued in federal court. The separate lawsuits each allege that unfair treatment in sexual misconduct cases led to male students being kicked out of school even though the facts are in dispute and no criminal charges are involved. . . .
. . . Joshua Engel, a Mason attorney who is representing students suing Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Marietta College, said universities have a financial motive for unjustly treating the accused. “Schools are scared,” he said. “They’re scared that if they don’t crack down and show they are tough on allegations of campus sexual assault, that the federal government is going to come in and take all their money. How do they keep the federal government from investigating them and threatening their funding? The way to do that is by throwing kids out of school because that impresses the federal government, evidently.”
Selected Media Coverage of the attorneys at Engel & Martin, LLC
Mary Martin is serving as a prosecutor in Mason Municipal Court in the case of Mohammed Abdu Laghaoui. Laghaoui is accused of shooting a Warren County Sheriff Deputy during a domestic dispute.
Laghaoui was arraigned in Mason Municipal Court and authorities released 911 call recordings of the incident last Thursday in the Landen area of Warren County.
Deputy Katie Barnes was shot in the abdomen, and Laghaoui’s father, Abdessadek Laghaoui, in the left hand.
Authorities say Laghaoui, armed with an AK-47, also shot at a neighbor who watched him as he raged at the Orchard at Landen apartment complex before leaving the crime scene, prompting a seven-hour manhunt.
Engel and Martin has filed a public records against the Ohio Department of Education related to the Charter School Scandal. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the blog Plunderbund. The blog has sought public records maintained by a former state employee at the center of the scandal maintained in his personal email account. Courthouse News Service has details:
Details about Ohio’s charter school scandal should not remain locked away on a disgraced state official’s private email server, a political blog claims in court.
Plunderbund Media filed the suit on May 10, demanding that Ohio’s Department of Education produce all personal communications from former charter school chief David Hansen.
It’s been nearly a year since Hansen “was forced to resign after it was revealed that he did not include the grades of online charter schools in a $71 million grant application to the federal Education Department,” according to the complaint, filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
Joshua Adam Engel, along with other attorneys representing motorists suing New Miami for its speed cameras, is seeking to garnish proceeds the village is collecting from a new speed camera program. The Journal News:
Josh Engel, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, said they had no choice but to try and garnish the new revenues.
“We filed this motion to make sure that the motorists who paid citations under the scheme that the judge declared to be unconstitutional can be compensated,” Engel said. “We are concerned that New Miami will use the revenue from the new ordinance to continue an increased level of spending rather then pay back what is owed people.”
Joshua Adam Engel is representing a seminary student in a dispute over educational records. The seminary student was dismissed from a Columbus school without being provided a reason — a lawsuit seeks to compel the school to produce the student’s disciplinary records, as would be required under FERPA.
A man who planned to graduate next month from a Roman Catholic seminary on the Far North Side has filed a lawsuit that says he was expelled for alleged homosexual activity without being given the opportunity to defend himself or review the disciplinary investigation that led to his dismissal.
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“He had a calling to be a priest and had dedicated his life and his study to joining the priesthood,” Engel said. “It’s devastating enough to have that taken away. It’s almost unimaginably devastating to have that taken away without anyone telling you what you did wrong or having an opportunity to defend yourself.”
Joshua Adam Engel was in Common Pleas Court representing a police officer accused of gross sexual imposition. One of the primary issues in the case involved the ability of the state to introduce allegations from other women allegedly victimized by the Defendant:
The fired Miami Township Sergeant faces three counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly assaulting a 20-year-old explorer during a ride-along. Nine more women have come forward with something to say.
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The behavioral fingerprint is important to prove in order for these women’s stories to be evidence in Swing’s trial. The behavior has to be relevant and show a pattern.
Defense attorney Joshua Engel said, “Courts have warned against what the prosecution is trying to accomplish: character assassination.”
Engel said what the nine women allege is not illegal, “No criminal charges come out of these. If there was criminal behavior he should have been charged.”
Joshua Adam Engel was quoted in AP articles covering a decision by an Ohio appeals court approving class action status for thousands of motorists fined for speeding in a southwest Ohio village with citations issued from automatic camera enforcement.
Attorneys for the drivers plan to ask a judge to order New Miami to pay back more than $1 million collected in the less than two years the cameras operated in the village of some 2,200 people. A Butler County judge ruled in 2014 that they violated motorists’ rights to due process and ordered them shut off.
“The good news for the motorists is that the judge already issued a ruling that the ordinance was unconstitutional,” attorney Josh Engel said. “We can proceed in the case as a class action and we can attempt to recover the money for all those motorists.”
Joshua Engel was quoted in the Dayton Daily News discussing the case of Mitchell Simon, a 16-year-old honors student at Lakota West High School who was sentenced to nine years in prison for two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of aggravated arson.
Josh Engel, Mitchell Simon’s current attorney, said they are going to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to take the case, and they are hopeful to get a hearing about the issues of the plea agreement.
“My thought is can we have a hearing so that we don’t have to speculate what happened,” Engel said “We can air this in open court and find out what the truth was, and maybe it really wasn’t an injustice. Maybe it really was Mitchell who misunderstood, and he had an obligation to understand. And that’s on him. But we don’t know the answer. My strong feeling is if there has been an injustice, we should at least take the time to get to the bottom of it.”
Joshua Adam Engel was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article noting that the University of Houston and Texas A&M University are among five Texas schools facing federal investigations into how they responded to allegations of sexual violence on campus.
Engel, who has represented other students or former students suing universities, said schools have acted too swiftly in fear of federal investigations being launched on their campuses.
“We’ve seen schools really rush to judgment on these cases in order to make themselves look better for the Department of Education all around the country,” he said.
About 30 minutes before the verdicts were read, the judge presiding over a federal trial involving three former Lawrence County corrections officers informed the court that some jurors were crying, having not reached a decision on one charge concerning one defendant.
A short time later, there were tears in the eyes of many in the courtroom who came to support those officers —Jeremy S. Hanshaw, Ronald S. Hatfield and Jason D. Mays. That’s because the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts for each jailer.
Attorney Joshua Adam Engel is representing a University of Cincinnati football player accused of sexual assault who is suing the university and two administrators. In the lawsuit, the player alleges that the disciplinary process that led to his suspension is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
“It’s a process in which it’s impossible for a student to fairly defend themselves. The hearings are pretty much kangaroo courts that are going to find you responsible and impose some kind of discipline whether it be suspension or expulsion.”
More from from WCPO:
This is the latest in several lawsuits filed by students against Ohio colleges and universities this year claiming that strict sexual misconduct policies are slanted in favor of female accusers. They claim the U.S. Department of Education’s crackdown on campus sexual assaults has forced schools to create unfair policies or risk losing federal funding.
“No student who has been accused of serious sexual misconduct at UC has ever been exonerated. You can’t win,” said Joshua Engel, an attorney for the football player, who is identified as John Doe in the lawsuit.
Joshua Engel was quoted in a recent Daily Beast article highlighting a lawsuit against Oregon State alleging that the University fostered a “sexually violent culture” at the school in the ’90s, where predatory athletes brutally assaulted female students with impunity. His comments focused on campus sexual assault investigations.
As part of the article, Joshua Engel spoke generally about campus sexual assault investigations.
Joshua Engel, a civil rights lawyer in Ohio and former prosecutor in Massachusetts, also attributes the shift within school administrations in recent years to “a changing of cultural attitudes.” He argues that counselors and administrators are indeed more receptive to victims, but that administrators are ill-equipped to conduct a proper investigation into victim allegations.
“Most of these people don’t have law enforcement experience, they don’t have prosecutorial experience, and they don’t really know how to get the truth or lack of truth in sexual assault cases,” Engel said.
“While I have run into a couple of Title IX investigators who had an agenda, my experience with them is mostly that they are well-meaning people who just don’t have the tools to get to the heart of these issues.”
A Miami Township police sergeant was charged with a sex offense and assault Thursday. . . .
Police records indicated the charges were based on a complaint made in April. He has been on paid administrative leave since then, according to Chief Sue Madsen.
[The officer] is an 18-year veteran of the Miami Township police department.
Joshua A. Engel, [the officer’s] defense attorney, said they had filed a written plea of not guilty and would enter a formal plea next Friday.
“He’s had a long and exemplary career and denies these charges categorically,” Engel said of [the officer], who has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years.
American Homeland Title Agency Files Federal Lawsuit Alleging Discriminatory Actions By State Of Indiana
CINCINNATI, Aug. 4, 2015 — American Homeland Title Agency, Inc. (“AHT”) has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance (“IDOI”). The lawsuit was filed by attorney Joshua Adam Engel of Engel & Martin, LLC in the United States District Court in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Members of this small but fast-growing legal specialty say the problem dates to 2011, when the Education Department advised colleges to take sexual assault more seriously and to lower the burden of proof for people bringing complaints. Since then, aWhite House task force has issued new guidelines and the Office of Civil Rights has released the names of more than 85 colleges that are under investigation for not doing enough. Faced with all that political pressure, said JoshuaAdam Engel, a lawyer in Mason, Ohio, colleges are panicking.
Justices heard arguments in the case of a motorist ticketed in Toledo five years ago. They didn’t state a timetable for a ruling, which could affect motorists and municipalities around the state. Most of the state’s largest cities use camera enforcement, and at least eight lawsuits against cameras are working through other courts. . . .
Attorney Josh Engel, part of the law firm that sued Elmwood Place and four other Ohio municipalities over cameras, watched Wednesday’s arguments in the courtroom audience. He said he hopes the justices will find that cities are overstepping their authority, but even if the court doesn’t agree, lawsuits could continue on other issues. “We still have a long ways to go,” Engel said.
Read more: Joshua Adam Engel on Speed Camera Litigation