Overview

Hinckley Allen’s Sexual Misconduct & Workplace Harassment team helps clients properly respond to misconduct allegations, resolve matters effectively and prevent future incidents.

Sexual misconduct and workplace harassment claims have taken center stage following the #MeToo social media movement.  There is not only heightened awareness of the rights of victims, but also increased scrutiny of how institutions and executives respond to allegations of misconduct. If not handled properly, workplace sexual misconduct allegations can spiral into a public relations nightmare. Hinckley Allen’s rapid response Sexual Misconduct & Workplace Harassment team counsels and defends clients in connection with all aspects of misconduct scenarios with the goal of minimizing exposure and workplace disruption.

Our team offers around the clock support in the immediate aftermath of an incident and guides our clients through the following critical tasks:

  • Thoroughly and thoughtfully investigating all allegations of sexual harassment, abuse or other misconduct
  • Digesting facts and assessing risk
  • Addressing all applicable regulatory, legal and public relations implications
  • Taking prompt and decisive action

An Exceptionally Experienced Team

Our team is comprised of former federal and state prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, civil litigators, labor and employment attorneys and regulatory counsel.  We have favorably resolved highly-publicized sexual abuse scandals involving prominent boarding schools, universities, archdioceses, public and private corporations, a world-renowned professional sports organization, nonprofits and other entities.

Comprehensive Service Through Every Phase

We represent a diverse clientele that includes academic institutions, faculty members and school administrators, students and their families, public and private corporations across industries, religious institutions and other nonprofits, and boards of directors. Our attorneys guide clients through each phase of an investigation and help protect their reputation with swift action and carefully crafted internal and external communications and well-managed media relations.

Our team has resolved civil and criminal sexual misconduct and harassment claims for clients in federal and state courts throughout the nation. We have represented clients before Title IX and regulatory bodies and have resolved claims through alternative dispute resolution methods that include arbitration, mediation and negotiated settlement.

Our experience also includes providing advice and guidance to students (and families) who are facing disciplinary hearings stemming from the students’ alleged failure to adhere to the college’s COVID 19-related residential and student life rules.

Services

We provide a variety of services, including:

  • Conducting internal, impartial or independent investigations into specific allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse
  • Advising on and developing written policies, protocols and customized training for reporting misconduct and for addressing allegations
  • Advising on preventive strategies to greatly reduce the risk of future incidents
  • Assisting with voluntary disclosures and mandatory reporting
  • Representing students in Title IX school proceedings and related criminal and civil proceedings
  • Handling whistleblower retaliation claims
  • Offering guidance on boundary issues
  • Responding to government inquiries and representing clients in hearings, and regulatory and enforcement agency investigations
  • Handling media relations, government relations and law enforcement matters

Experience

  • Represented a private high school in a grand jury investigation conducted by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office into possible criminal child endangerment and obstruction of justice by faculty and staff over a nearly forty year period. Successfully negotiated a non-criminal disposition involving an agreement providing for a Compliance Overseer at the school for a five-year term, and enhanced training and reporting obligations.
  • Represented a private high school in connection with numerous civil claims brought against the school in federal and state courts. Also developed an innovative streamlined arbitration program for the compensation of alumni of the school for sexual assaults suffered while they were students at the school.
  • Represented several Deans of a private high school, including two who were targets of a grand jury investigation into student on student alleged sexual assault. All issues under investigation were resolved without any criminal charges.
  • Represented a private high school in connection with numerous civil claims brought by former students involving claims of sexual abuse by faculty and staff.
  • Engaged by the Board of Trustees of the International Tennis Hall of Fame to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against Hall of Fame Inductee, Bob Hewitt.  The alleged victims resided throughout the world, including the United States, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. The alleged assaults by Mr. Hewitt spanned a forty year period. The findings from our investigation led to Mr. Hewitt’s suspension and eventual expulsion from the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and his indictment by South African authorities, and eventual trial, conviction and incarceration.
  • Represented numerous priests investigated by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for alleged childhood sexual assaults.
  • Represented numerous priests investigated by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office for alleged childhood sexual assaults.
  • Represented corporate clients in defense claims regarding sexual and verbal harassment.
  • Represented a board of trustee member at a private boarding school who was a witness at a civil and criminal case against sexual misconduct against students.
  • Defended college students throughout the Northeast accused of sexual misconduct and other Title IX violations.
  • Represented a faculty member of a boarding school accused of boundary-crossing behavior.
  • Represented a faculty member of a boarding school accused of inappropriate conduct towards students.
  • Represented former administrator of independent school in connection with alumni complaints of abuse and alleged failure to report.
  • Conducted internal investigations for alleged verbal abuse and harassment for companies throughout New England.
  • People v. Carroll, 95 N.Y.2d 375 (2000) – successfully appealed rape and sexual assault convictions in the New York Court of Appeals; client was convicted of sexual assault at re-trial.
  • People v. Berkerey – successfully defended client accused of sex crimes, which included successfully arguing a critical evidentiary exception to New York’s rape shield law.
  • Developed trainings on boundary issues, social media use, reporting requirements, and Title IX.
  • Reviewed and drafted student and faculty handbooks.
  • Participated in mediations regarding allegations of sexual misconduct.