Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sexual Assault Of Vulnerable Client Charged By Illinois Administrator

A recently filed complaint of the Illinois Administrator alleges

On or about April 30, 2017, L.T. was arrested and charged with retail theft.

On or about April 30, 2017, L.T. telephoned attorney George Kallas, who had represented her in two prior legal matters, and left him a message asking if he would represent her relating to her April 30, 2017, arrest.

Respondent rented an office from Kallas and, as a result, they officed in the same suite. Respondent returned L.T.’s phone message on April 30, 2017, identified himself as Kallas’ partner, and told L.T. that Kallas was not available, and that Kallas had asked him to meet with L.T. on May 1, 2017, regarding her case and to collect a down payment of $500 towards Kallas’ $2,500 retainer.

On May 1, 2017, Respondent met with L.T. at his office. L.T. gave Respondent $500 and he asked L.T. to sign a criminal fee agreement. L.T. signed the agreement and Respondent dated the agreement May 1, 2017, and signed the agreement with his initials "KPW." At that meeting, L.T. told Respondent that she struggled with her emotional and mental health, that she had considered suicide, that she took antianxiety and antidepressant medications as well as a sleep medication which she believed may have led to her unknowingly taking the actions which resulted in the retail theft charges. L.T. further told Respondent that she had recently lost her job, that her home was in foreclosure and that she was living with friends. Respondent also discussed with L.T. some issues with her pending domestic relations matter, stating that Respondent had concerns about her attorney’s performance and the fee that he had charged her. In addition, L.T. had been unable to obtain a response filed in an arbitration matter in which she was involved and Respondent offered to get information for her about that matter.

As a result of Respondent describing himself to L.T. as Kallas’ "partner," Respondent’s action in affixing his initials to the fee agreement, the personal confidences L.T. provided to Respondent at Respondent’s law office and Respondent’s indication that he would obtain information about her divorce and arbitration matters, L.T. had a reasonable belief that Respondent was acting as her attorney.

After the May 1, 2017, meeting, L.T. attempted to call or text Kallas, asking him to contact her, but Respondent responded to her attempts to communicate with Kallas. As a result, L.T. believed that Kallas wanted Respondent to handle her matter. At no time did L.T. ever meet with or discuss her matter with Kallas.

Between May 1, 2017, and May 20, 2017, Respondent sent L.T. several texts asking her how she was feeling, enquiring about her mental state, and asking her to call him. Respondent also advised L.T. in a text that one of her medications, Ambien, is a medication that causes people to sleepwalk. During this period, Respondent and L.T. also spoke on the telephone and he asked her to meet him for breakfast or lunch, which she declined.

Respondent asked L.T. to meet him at his office on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at 4:45 pm to discuss the information that Respondent had obtained on L.T.’s behalf.

When L.T. arrived at Respondent’s office building on May 20, 2017, Respondent was waiting for her in his car. Respondent used his keys to unlock and enter the building and his office suite and then locked the door behind him. Respondent and L.T. were the only people present in Respondent’s office. Respondent started the meeting by accessing L.T.’s records on the DuPage County Courts website. He pulled a second chair close to him so that he and L.T. could review the records together. Respondent said he thought her lawyer was overbilling her. As they finished their review, Respondent put his arm around her and touched her arm and legs. Respondent complimented her earrings and touched her hair, telling her how attractive she was to him. L.T. stood up with the intention of leaving and Respondent pulled her onto his lap and began massaging her shoulders. L.T. told him that she didn’t do things like that and that he was married and Respondent told L.T. that he hadn’t had sex with his wife in 18 months. Respondent then led L.T. to an adjacent area to sit on a couch, took off his suit coat and her jacket. Respondent then stood L.T. up and restrained her by pinning her against a wall. Respondent exposed his penis to L.T. and pulled her hand towards him and forced her hand to touch his penis twice. L.T. withdrew her hand both times. Respondent pulled L.T.’s hand to his penis a third time, at which point Respondent ejaculated on both his and her clothing. Respondent pulled up his pants and left to retrieve her purse, unlocked the office door and they exited the building at the same time. Respondent said he would call her and got into his car and left. L.T. went quickly to her car and locked the door. She texted a friend, J., about what had just happened in her meeting with Respondent while sitting in her car. L.T. was shocked and frightened by Respondent’s actions, and upset and disoriented so that she was initially unable to drive and had to search for directions to her home on her GPS.

During the events described...above, L.T. repeatedly told Respondent that she did not want to have sexual contact with him. Because she believed the door to be locked and was frightened of Respondent, she did not attempt to leave the office.

On the morning of May 21, 2017, L.T. went to the Glen Ellyn Police Department and made a police report about the May 20, 2017 incident at Respondent’s office.

The attorney has been charged with battery.

The bar complaint also alleges that he made false statements to the police through his attorney

The statements made by Respondent’s attorney to the Glen Ellyn police on Respondent’s behalf...were false, and Respondent knew they were false because Respondent knew that he had in fact engaged in sex acts with L.T. Respondent did not assert his 5th amendment rights or simply deny his involvement in any crime. Respondent allowed his counsel to specifically deny his involvement in the conduct and to furnish affirmatively false information about which Respondent knew the police detectives were seeking to acquire information.

He initially denied the charged encounter to disciplinary authorities but later

On May 21, 2018, Respondent appeared at the ARDC with this attorney, Frank Valenti to give a sworn statement in relation to the investigation initiated by L.T. Respondent was sworn under oath and was asked about his contact with L.T. in his meeting with her on May 20, 2017. At that time, Respondent admitted that sexual contact had occurred between Respondent and L.T. on May 20, 2017 and stated that L.T. was not Respondent’s client; she was only Mr. Kallas’s client

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2018/10/a-recently-filed-complaint-of-the-illinois-administrator.html

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