Saturday, July 20, 2013
A one-year suspension was imposed by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department.
The underlying facts, which are undisputed, are as follows: the respondent, using the internet, went to a dating site for lesbians and created a sham posting by impersonating a woman whom he knew years ago; he used both his home and work computers for this activity. The respondent was aware that the sham posting would likely cause embarrassment to the woman, who was a mother of three.
Based on the uncontroverted evidence and the respondent's admissions, the Special Referee properly sustained the charge. Accordingly, the Grievance Committee's motion to confirm the Special Referee's report is granted.
In mitigation, the respondent, who previously served in the United States Army Reserves and in active military service for a total of 28 years, introduced seven awards he received for meritorious service, including a Bronze Star for his services as a Staff Judge Advocate in Iraq. The respondent testified that he was deeply ashamed of his behavior, which he acknowledged was "inexcusable." The respondent pointed out that the woman was not a client and suffered no bodily or financial harm. The respondent called a psychotherapist, who testified that the respondent suffered from an adjustment disorder, maladaptive at times. The psychotherapist opined that there was little likelihood of recurrence as the respondent had sought therapy and had since gained insight into his behavior. Finally, the respondent submitted several letters attesting to his good character and service in the military.
The respondent has no prior disciplinary history.