Allen Harris’ newest associate, Attorney Andrew Cavarno, showcased his top-notch representation skills and dedication to due process by clearing an international student falsely accused of a Title IX violation. The student, a Chinese national, was enrolled in a graduate program at a top-ten university, where he is now free to complete his degree.
The student was already navigating the complexities of a foreign land and language but found himself ensnared in a harrowing situation. His former girlfriend accused him of “dating violence,” sexual assault, and, eventually, added forcible rape at gunpoint. These are obviously serious allegations. This would be daunting in any circumstance but being falsely accused of such outrageous crimes is particularly overwhelming for a student facing a foreign system of campus discipline with limited language proficiency.
However, by seeking out Andrew Cavarno, an experienced higher-education attorney who knows the law of Title IX, the student was not alone. Attorney Cavarno worked the case through every phase of the investigation. He helped the student identify exculpatory evidence. He helped document the university’s process to make sure the school followed its own rules. He conducted meticulous mock interviews with the client before every meeting with investigators to ensure that the student never walked into a questioning session unprepared. Post-interviews, Attorney Cavarno collaborated with the student to draft detailed written statements, supplement his testimony, and ensure clarity. Yet these drafts also enabled the student to speak with his own voice.
It is our experience at Allen Harris that the most effective written statements to campus administrators are those that present the case in the student’s own voice. As a rule, campus administrators do not like attorneys and are sometimes afraid of them. No one wants a statement from a student that sounds like it was written by an earnest law student, much less by a middle-aged lawyer. In this case, Attorney Cavarno tackled the added task of eliminating potential misunderstandings due to language differences.
The challenges were compounded as the accuser’s story became more extreme and internally contradictory as the investigation unfolded. Attorney Cavarno was able to cast doubt on the accuser’s credibility by highlighting these inconsistencies.
In the end, the strategy paid off. The student was found “Not Responsible” on all counts. His reputation and his degree remain intact. The accused student can now continue his academic journey unhindered.
The student wrote to Mr. Cavarno, “I am writing to express my appreciation for the invaluable assistance you’ve provided me… I am truly grateful for the time and effort you invested and really feel fortunate to have had you representing me.”
Allen Harris is not only proud to welcome Attorney Cavarno and proud of our client’s vindication; we are also looking forward to many more successes.
Welcome, Attorney Cavarno!