Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pattern Of Misconduct Charged

The Illinois ARDC has filed a second amended complaint alleging that the attorney engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior toward three clients and the wife (and opposing party) of another client. Samples of the alleged conduct from the charging document:

On June 15, 2005, Respondent and Sarah met in his office. Respondent asked Sarah to give him a hug. Sarah gave Respondent a hug. At that point, Respondent proceeded to grab Sarah’s buttocks, pull her toward him, stick his tongue in her mouth, simulate the turning of her breasts and place her hand outside his pants on his partially erect genitals, stating to her "see what you’ve done." Sarah repeatedly stated to Respondent; "Okay that’s enough"; but he did not stop. Respondent said other things to Sarah including "You don’t know what you do to me"; and "Why don’t you lay down on the floor right there?"

And:

During the course of Respondent’s representation, Respondent asked Brevoort [his client]to explain her reasons for wanting a divorce. Brevoort advised Respondent that her husband was an alcoholic and that they had not been intimate in three years. Respondent remarked to Brevoort that if she were his wife she wouldn’t be left alone.

Respondent also appeared once at Brevoort’s home uninvited, stating he wished to discuss issues relating to her dissolution. Brevoort was fearful of Respondent and uncomfortable with the presence of Respondent at her home. Respondent left when he realized Brevoort’s son was at home at the time.

On or about March 16, 2004, Respondent telephoned Brevoort. Brevoort was in her car with a friend when she received Respondent’s telephone call. Because of Respondent’s prior inappropriate sexual conduct, Brevoort requested that her friend, Linda Wedig, who was present in the car, listen to Brevoort’s conversation with Respondent.

In his telephone conversation with Brevoort, Respondent asked Brevoort to meet him. Brevoort asked Respondent what they needed to meet about and Respondent replied, "a blow job." Brevoort was shocked, and asked Respondent whether Respondent had been drinking.

As to a third client:

Throughout the time Respondent represented Johnson, Respondent made inappropriate and suggestive remarks to Johnson, complimenting her appearance, remarking that he could not believe her ex-husband ever left her, discussing the commencement of a sexual relationship, getting "naked" together, and discussing oral sex. Respondent would call Johnson and engage in lengthy conversations of this nature, including asking her to join him on a trip to Springfield so they could have sexual relations. Respondent and Johnson would engage in touching and fondling including at conference rooms at the courthouse.

Although Johnson was attracted to Respondent, she would often inquire of Respondent whether it was appropriate for them to engage in these conversations or sexual relations, because he was her attorney. Johnson also had concerns since Respondent was married.

At some time on or about August 26, 2007, Johnson told Respondent she no longer required his representation. Johnson believed the relationship was becoming too personal and it was not proper for Respondent to continue to represent her in her case. On or about that date, Respondent leaned up against her and rubbed himself against her, touching her thighs and telling her that she didn’t know what she did to him.

As to the client spouse:

After Dirk  [the client] left Respondent’s office, Respondent stated to Leah that most divorces resulted from disputes over sex or money and asked her to explain the reasons that she sought a divorce. Leah advised Respondent that her husband worked nights and that their physical relationship had suffered as a result. Leah began to cry, explaining her reasons for dissolving the marriage and for leaving Dirk.

Respondent hugged Leah and drew her in close to his body, pressing her against his erect genitals. Leah pulled away and Respondent then grabbed Leah’s hand and placed it upon his genitals, over his clothing. Leah told Respondent to stop and then left Respondent’s office.

Because charges such as these almost invariably involve one-on-one conduct, there are often problems of proof to the certainty required in a bar discipline proceeding. Where the allegations involve a number of unrelated persons alleging the misconduct, the pattern makes for a much stronger case. (Mike Frisch)

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