Monday, November 11, 2013

Disbarment By Consent For Public Defender Sex Harassment Of Clients

An Illinois attorney accused of sexual misconduct toward three criminal clients has agreed to disbarmant by consent.

The motion for disbarment of the Administrator recites:

On October 11, 2012, Movant, who was then  the Coles County Public Defender, was appointed to represent Celia Lawrence in a  pending criminal case in Coles County involving charges of possession of  methamphetamine and morphine. On October 11, 2012, following a court hearing,  Movant and Lawrence met at Respondent’s office. While at Movant’s office, Movant kissed Lawrence on the lips, rubbed her  back, and touched her body over her clothing. Movant invited Lawrence to attend  a conference with him in Springfield that weekend. Lawrence left the office. On  October 18, 2012, following another court hearing, Lawrence met with Movant at  his office. Movant locked the door, kissed Lawrence, and again touched her body  over her clothes. Lawrence started to leave and Movant told her to come back the  following Saturday "when no one was there." Lawrence left the office, and  thereafter retained a private attorney in her case...

 On July 26, 2010, Movant was appointed to  represent Bobbie Beringer in a pending criminal case in Coles County relating to  charges of theft over $300. Movant asked Beringer to come to his office on  Saturday, August 14, 2010, for an appointment. After Beringer arrived for the  appointment, Movant placed his hand on her legs and rubbed her leg slowly. He  also rubbed her neck and shoulders. As Beringer was leaving, Movant hugged  Beringer closely. Beringer filed a police report that same day, and Movant later  withdrew from her case. No criminal charges were filed...

On August 13, 2012, Movant was appointed to  represent Tammy Hamilton in a pending criminal case in Coles Count, relating to  charges of theft. Movant asked Hamilton to meet him at his office on Saturday,  August 18, 2012. After Hamilton arrived at Movant’s office, he asked her  personal questions about her relationship with her boyfriend, and touched her  face. Hamilton told Movant she felt weird about him touching her face. Hamilton  left the office. After Hamilton missed a court date on August 27, 2012, Movant  told her he had covered for her, and that "there are different ways to pay me  back." Following a hearing on September 4, 2012, Movant sat with Hamilton on a bench outside the  courtroom and touched her thigh, over her pants. Hamilton moved away. On  November 5, 2012, following another court date, Movant again sat next to  Hamilton on a bench outside of the courtroom and touched her thigh over her  pants. Hamilton objected, stood up and left.

Our earlier coverage is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

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