Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A "Little Bit Of A Pervert"

The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended an attorney with no leave to seek reinstatement for 12 months.

In jail

In September 2020, the Vernon County Sheriff (hereinafter, “Sheriff”) contacted OCDC regarding Purdy’s conduct with four, female clients in the jail interview room. Sheriff provided OCDC with video footage of Purdy meeting with his clients on two days. For all of his visits, the video footage depicted Purdy making sexual advances toward his clients and engaging in unwanted and improper sexual touching. This conduct included, but was not limited to, pulling them into his body, reaching underneath their jumpsuits, and kissing them on the mouth.

Following these incidents, officers at the jail interviewed each of the women regarding Purdy’s conduct. Each woman confirmed Purdy’s sexual advances were unwanted. The women stated they were uncomfortable with his conduct, and one described Purdy as a “little bit of a pervert.” The officers confirmed Purdy never told his clients his sexual conduct was in exchange for payment or reduced legal fees.

In court

In March 2021, an assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Clair County contacted OCDC regarding Purdy’s conduct in open court. The courtroom’s video footage showed Purdy touched his client on her buttocks. The client at issue, however, submitted an affidavit to OCDC stating she did not believe Purdy touched her inappropriately.

In his car

In September 2021, Purdy was transporting a client in his vehicle. The client rode in the front passenger seat. The client used her cellular telephone to record a portion of their drive. The video shows that, while he was driving, Purdy reached across the seat, placed his hand inside the client’s blouse, and rubbed her breast. The client stated this was unwanted sexual conduct.


This Court must impose significant discipline to maintain the public’s trust and protect the integrity of the legal system. Purdy’s request that he need not be further disciplined because he has been suspended for more than a year pursuant to Rule 5.24 is inappropriate. Alternatively, Purdy seeks an indefinite suspension with only six months’ leave before he is eligible to be reinstated...

In light of Purdy’s interim suspension of fifteen months and in accordance with OCDC’s stipulated discipline and ABA Standards, this Court indefinitely suspends Purdy from the practice of law with no leave to apply for reinstatement for twelve months. This discipline is “designed to correct any antisocial tendency on the part of [Purdy] as well as to deter others who might tend to engage in similar violations.”

Respondent is 86 years old.

A dissent from Judge Fischer

I must dissent. I, like the Disciplinary Hearing Panel that heard the evidence in this case, am of the opinion that Dan Purdy should be disbarred. In light of the egregious and outrageous conduct perpetrated, I am deeply distressed that this Court merely indefinitely suspends Mr. Purdy with no leave to apply for reinstatement for one year.

Implicit in the principal opinion's analysis is that Mr. Purdy only needs to be indefinitely suspended with no leave to apply for reinstatement for one year because of his advanced age. In my view, neither the race, gender, ethnicity, nor age of an attorney should be taken into consideration to determine appropriate discipline. In my view, Mr. Purdy's conduct, which was clearly and explicitly depicted in the video evidence, warrants disbarment.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


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