||On April 4, 2000, Respondent was charged with one count of Corrupting the Morals of a Minor (18 Pa.C.S.A. §6301). On October 31, 2000, he pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 2 to 23 months incarceration.
Following his temporary suspension by the Supreme Court (effective March 12, 2001), Respondent’s disciplinary hearing was conducted. The evidence established the victim was a 16 year old female who worked for Respondent (age 40) pursuant to a school internship program. She initiated sexual contact by kissing and touching Respondent, and he reciprocated. There were no acts of intercourse. This episode ceased when the victim’s brother entered their home, observed what was happening and called the police.
The Board noted Respondent was cooperative with both the law enforcement investigation and prosecution, as well as with the disciplinary investigation and prosecution, and that he had no prior record, either disciplinary or criminal. He voluntarily assumed inactive status because he “did not want to make a mockery of his license to practice law.” He arranged to transfer all of his active files/clients. Respondent fully availed himself of counseling.
The Board distinguished this matter from other cases based upon the victim’s status as a non-client, and upon the fact the offensive conduct occurred outside his law office. The Board also pointed out the acts were not initiated by Respondent. However, it was emphasized that Respondent, given the age of the victim, had “abandoned any sense of good judgment and maturity that are the hallmarks of a fit attorney by allowing the encounter to take place.”