Thursday, April 20, 2017
One of the 20 cases filed in Ohio alleges a rather complex web of relationships that led to charges against an attorney by the Warren County Bar Association.
The case started out as a dispute between the client's girlfriend and wife
[Respondent] was retained by Cynthia Hess (hereinafter 'grievant') to defend her in a criminal telecommunication complaint in the Mason, Ohio Municipal Court. The prosecuting witness in the case was Erin Bentley, 526 Walnut Lane, Mason, OH 45040, the wife of Hess' boyfriend.
Prior to the representation, Respondent had no existing personal relationship with Hess. Hess and Respondent had attended the same high school. Respondent successfully defended the criminal action, and later represented Hess in an action to seal her record of non-conviction.
Immediately following the conclusion of the action to seal her record, Respondent engaged in consensual sexual activity with Ms. Hess, to wit: by 'sexting' and by participating in sexually explicit telephone conversations with Hess.
Respondent thereafter represented Hess in reciprocal stalking actions that she and the client's spouse brought against each other.
It is alleged that the sexual activity between Respondent resumed after the stalking matters were dismissed.
Respondent's wife, Michelle Meadows, who was his office manager, became suspicious he was having an affair. She had access to his private cell phone and examined its call history, text messages and e/mail correspondence. In doing so she became aware of the electronic communications between Respondent and Hess.
Michelle Meadows was able to access Respondent's cell phone contents because she had been given the password to it by Respondent.
Michelle Meadows had access to thee/mails and text messages on Respondent's cell phone because they were not protected by additional password(s).
Michelle Meadows transferred the electronic communications between Respondent and Hess to her own personal e/mail account, which included personal messages as well as communications directly related to Respondent's representation of Hess. Michelle Meadows then disseminated the electronic communications between Respondent and Hess to Attorney Robert S. Fischer (OSC#0071640), who was representing Erin Bentley in the civil case filed against Hess,
The allegations do not involve the sex; rather, Respondent is alleged to have violated his duties of confidentiality to Hess, failed to properly supervise Meadows and failed to report professional misconduct. (Mike Frisch)