Thursday, May 27, 2010

Indefinite Suspension For Sexual Behavior

The web page of the Ohio Supreme Court reports:

The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed an indefinite suspension against the law license of [a] Fremont attorney...for multiple professional misconduct violations, including inappropriate touching of and sexual remarks to clients and others.

In a 6-0 per curiam opinion, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline against [the attorney] for “engaging in a pattern of inappropriate sexual communication and behavior with a number of women, including his clients, and failing to file a timely notice of appeal on behalf of a client.”

The Court agreed with the board’s determination that the sanction recommended by the parties is not sufficient to protect the public from further misconduct. “Because respondent has not yet received the treatment necessary to develop a realistic and effective plan to decrease his risk of repeating inappropriate sexual behaviors, he remains at risk to reoffend.”

Chief Justice Eric Brown did not participate in the Court’s deliberations or decision in the case.

The opinion is linked here.

The attorney had engaged in misconduct with a juvenile client that involved instant messages of a sexual nature, playing "footsie" with her at a detention facility and telling her he was aroused. In another matter, he conducted an 90-minute interview with a client's girlfriend in which he touched her and spent most of the time talking about himself and his workouts. He showed another attorney photographs of a "scantily clad" client. He sexually harassed one divorce client and inappropriately touched another.

Another matter involved visits to the lockup at the Sandusky County Sheriff's Department. A female sergeant received a complaint from the attorney's female client about his inappropriate attire. The client later complained that the attorney had shown her pictures of other clients who were exotic dancers and had proposed a sexual liaison with her. The sergeant also complained about the attorney's discussion about the size of his penis with her.

The attorney was diagnosed by the Bar's clinical director with frotteurism (a type of sexual disorder) and  narcissistic-personality disorder. After a referral to a facility that specialized in sex-abuse issues, it was recommended that the attorney participate in a treatment program, not represent minors and "not use any steroids or supplements for the purpose of enhancing muscle mass or appearance." His prognosis after participating in the program was evaluated as "poor."

He sought further treatment but a polygraph examination "raise[d] doubt about the level of honesty he [was] showing concerning the extent of his sexual behavior problems."

The court concluded that he has "significant mental health concerns that he has failed to address in the three years since his misconduct came to light." Because he has not received necessary treatment, he "remains at risk to reoffend."  

Here is a related report from the Port Clinton News Herald. Mike Frisch)

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