Most states have statutes of limitations on filing a lawsuit or pressing criminal charges against someone. The logic is that if so much time has passed, the supposedly guilty party can no longer be held responsible. For professional licenses and certifications, however, there typically is no such time limit.
Doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, and other professionals who must have a license to do their jobs could be subject to investigation and even license suspension for incidents that took place decades ago.
An Iowa Teacher Lost His License for Sexual Misconduct Allegations
The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners suspended the state teaching license of an educator named Justin Query in July 2023. Query was accused of sexual misconduct with a former student nearly two decades ago, and the Board suspended his license for at least 12 years.
In Iowa, you cannot sue someone for sexual abuse years after the incident happened, nor can you press criminal charges if the incidents occurred before a certain date. The woman who alleged Query sexually assaulted her went after Query's teaching license instead.
Query received a public reprimand and a 12-year license suspension from the Board in a settlement agreement. Query also has to complete ethics courses for educators and do a risk evaluation with a sex offender treatment professional.
License Suspensions Have No Time Limit
In Iowa, as in many states, teachers and other licensed professionals can be held accountable for professional misconduct many years after the events allegedly occurred. If you work in a licensed profession, you're usually held to a certain standard of behavior. Breaching those standards can cause you to lose your license and make you unable to work in your state.
Sometimes, professional misconduct overlaps with civil and criminal law. If Iowa didn't have a statute of limitations on civil litigation for sexual harassment, the accuser in Justin Query's case could have brought a lawsuit against him.
What to Do If Your License Is at Stake
If you hear whispers or rumors about misconduct allegations against you, you should act quickly. While you may not be subject to a civil lawsuit or criminal charges, you could still be in trouble concerning your professional license. You could end up with a suspension of several years, as Justin Query did. You could also have your license outright revoked in your state, forcing you to either move to a new state or change professions if you want to keep working.
A team of Professional License Defense attorneys can help you if you suspect your license is in trouble. Accusations of misconduct are handled differently by licensure boards than in a court of law, so it's crucial to have a lawyer with experience dealing with these types of boards.
At the Lento Law Firm, our attorneys can provide you with guidance and support as you deal with your license misconduct allegations. We can help you gather evidence, prepare you for your hearing, and negotiate with the licensing board on your behalf. Call today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.