Friday, October 30, 2020

Ohio Attorney Faces Multiple Allegations

A  complaint recently filed by Ohio Disciplinary Counsel alleges a pattern of sexual advances to clients and a court employee. 

The lengthy charges make for painful reading. 

The complaint notes

Since at least 2015, respondent has not maintained a law office. and regularly meets with clients at his home or in secluded places [such as the county law library]

The court employee was allegedly subjected to comments of a sexual nature and unwanted touching. 

In one instance when she was wearing a skirt, he allegedly "grabbed [her] knee and ran his hand up to [her] mid-thigh."

She filed a civil complaint against the City of Wilmington (where he served as an acting prosecutor and judge) and received a financial settlement.

A person who he had known for 30 years consulted him about a divorce. He allegedly offered her $100 (which she needed for a medical procedure) to clean his home, "forcibly kissed her" and offered to represent her for free if she cleaned in the nude.

He then allegedly contacted her multiple times over a two week period, called her "gorgeous" and sought sexual relations. 

He continued to represent her, made a second offer of free representation for naked cleaning and made further sexual advances.

She made a police report but no charges were filed.

He allegedly subjected another client in a court-appointed felony drug case to romantic and sexual advances.

She contacted the police and wore a wire that recorded their conversations, including "I would like to see you naked."

The Sheriff's Office advised the county prosecutor of the advances. The issue of potential conflict was brought to the judge's attention and new counsel was appointed.

Another client was a Facebook friend charged with theft. They had no prior personal or professional relationship. 

He allegedly reached out to her on Facebook after he learned of the charges and offered his assistance.

She had no permanent residence and stayed with friends on a "night to night" basis.

He allegedly met with her at the Hidden Carryout and gave her $70 to "help her out" which she interpreted as an offer to exchange sex for legal services.

She told him she was "not that kind of girl."

After he let that client use the washer and dryer in his home, he allegedly tried to put his hand down her pants. 

He allegedly communicated  by Facebook Messenger with another client charged with telephone harassment. He called her "dear," "gorgeous," and "babydoll."

Their alleged communications and interactions are recounted in detail and include his suggestion of Carribean trip together.

When she tried to steer the conversation back to her case, he replied he preferred 

talking about the potential for an "us" at the moment.

They had dinner; he paid for the meal.

He invited her to the pool; she declined.

The client had her bond revoked. The attorney allegedly failed to contact her or prepare for trial.

He allegedly pressured her to plead guilty to one charge. 

 A client in a dependency case allegedly had sexual intercourse with him in his home.

He allegedly told her that "he loved her and that he wanted to marry her" and that the sex "was in lieu of attorneys fees."

When the client was charged with OVI (driving under the influence), he allegedly again had sex with her in lieu of a fee.

The News Journal reported that he was removed from a homicide case in March 2020

The attorney for a suspect in a recent homicide case has been removed after police and court officials say that attorney was apparently under the influence of alcohol during a meeting.

Attorney Richard Federle Jr., 52, was removed as the appointed attorney for murder suspect Corey Ruffner, 22, after Federle was allegedly under the influence at an arraignment hearing on Feb. 28.

Ruffner requested — in a letter to Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John “Tim” Rudduck — the removal on Wednesday due to concerns he had about Federle.

When reached by phone for comment Wednesday, Federle told the News Journal, “I am not in a position to comment at this time.”

According to a report by Wilmington Police Det. Scott Baker, during the hearing he noted that, as he was speaking with Federle, “I detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. I also noticed his eyes were red, bloodshot and glassy.”

Baker also reported that Federle’s movements were “slow, off-balance and uncoordinated” and his speech was “slow and slurred.”

Baker reported that he spoke with the court bailiff and magistrate who also “had a concern for Richard Federle being under the influence of alcohol.”

(Mike Frisch)

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