June 16, 2011
"Any Reasonably Prudent Person..."
An Illinois attorney has been charged with ethical violations as a result of the following alleged facts:
In 2003, Respondent was residing in Marina del Ray, California.
For several days prior to December 16, 2003, Respondent communicated with a female individual, C.G., on the internet. On December 15, 2003, Respondent and C.G., agreed to meet the following day, and decided on a Walgreens store near C.G.’s home in Torrance, California, as the location for their meeting. C.G. informed Respondent that she would wear a pink dress so that he would be able to identify her.
On December 16, 2003, Respondent met with C.G. at the Walgreens store. Upon meeting C.G., due to her youthful appearance, Respondent knew or should have known that C.G. was under the age of 18.
Respondent and C.G. exited the Walgreens together and entered Respondent’s vehicle. Respondent and C.G. then stopped at a fast food drive-through, where C.G. purchased some food. Shortly thereafter, Respondent and C.G. parked Respondent’s vehicle in an isolated parking lot and began engaging in a sexual act.
...Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Officer Daryl L. Williams observed Respondent’s automobile parked in an isolated area. Officer Williams pulled his vehicle in behind Respondent’s vehicle and observed Respondent and C.G. in the back seat of Respondent’s vehicle. Officer Williams approached Respondent’s vehicle and observed Respondent and C.G. hurriedly attempting to replace their clothing. Officer Williams observed Respondent trying to pull up his pants to cover his exposed penis, and C.G. attempting to pull down her dress. C.G.’s panties were in the backseat area of Respondent’s vehicle.
Officer Williams immediately observed that C.G.’s physical appearance was that of someone younger than 18 years of age. Officer Williams asked C.G. her age and C.G. informed Officer Williams that she was 18 years old. Officer Williams asked C.G. how she knew Respondent and C.G. said that they had been introduced over the internet by a mutual friend, had been corresponding for about a week, and had agreed to meet on that date.
Officer Williams asked Respondent how he knew C.G. and Respondent said he had just met C.G. while shopping in the Walgreens. Respondent told Officer Williams that he had never seen or talked with C.G. before.
Respondent’s statement that he had never seen or talked to C.G. before was false, and Respondent knew it was false when he made it, because Respondent had been communicating with C.G. over the Internet for several days prior to his meeting with C.G.
Upon further questioning by Officer Williams, C.G. admitted that she had lied about her age, and C.G. advised Officer Williams that she was 16 years old. During the questioning, C.G. denied that that she and Respondent had engaged in sexual intercourse.
Officer Williams observed through the open car door a condom and a condom wrapper, as well as C.G.’s panties, in the rear seat area of Respondent’s vehicle.
Officer Williams concluded that Respondent had committed or was attempting to commit a crime in his interactions with C.G., based on C.G.’s age. Officer Williams transported Respondent and C.G. to the Lomita, California, police station.
At the station, Officer Williams reviewed a videotape from the Walgreens store where Respondent and C.G. had met. Officer Williams noted that Respondent and C.G. exited the store approximately one minute after Respondent entered the store, where C.G. had been waiting. Officer Williams concluded that those facts were was not consistent with Respondent’s statement that he and C.G. happened to meet while shopping at the Walgreens and struck up a conversation that led them to leave together.
Officer Williams determined that any reasonably prudent person would have recognized that C.G. was not 18 years old based on her youthful appearance. Based on C.G.’s appearance, the manner of the meeting of Respondent and C.G., the state of their undress, and the presence of items such as a condom that would indicate preparation for sexual intercourse, Officer Williams determined that Respondent had contacted C.G. for the purposes of a sexual encounter. Officer Williams placed Respondent under arrest and charged Respondent with attempting to commit an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, annoying/molesting a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The attorney was charged with a felony and pled no contest to a misdemeanor. Here, he also is charged with failing to report the conviction to the bar. The complaint alleges that the matter came to light in 2010 when the attorney applied for admission to the California Bar. (Mike Frisch)
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