Nov
27

Sexual Extortion in New Haven

Today's New Haven Register reports the case of a young woman sent to prison for extortion. It turns out the she and several others were shaking down a lawyer for cash. Several years ago, the lawyer asked someone to find him some companionship. Two young women appeared at the lawyer's office, and he was given what prosecutors described as a "full body massage," paying the women $40 a piece.

That was the down payment.

One of the women had a cell phone with a camera and was quick with the click. A naughty picture was sent to the lawyer soon thereafter, and he paid $5,000 to keep things quiet. This followed additional requests for cash. And then threats, visits to his office, even a menacing visit to his home. The lawyer paid more than $200,000 before turning to police.

The paper refused to name the lawyer. Although comments to the on-line version of the paper this morning named one suspect, and gave enough information to make it sound credible. Those comments have since been removed from the paper's Internet edition. No point in attracting a libel suit, I suppose. Or was it really libelous at all?

The Rules of Professional Conduct were recently amended to prohibit what it should have taken no rule to make off limits: sex with clients. Sex and power are related. Taking advantage of one to get the other really is a boundary violation.

Reading the Register's story, it appears that the mark of this extortion plot relied upon a former client to set up assignations with a few working girls. That may be just this side of the line insofar as sexual misconduct with a client goes, but it is still tawdry and shameful.

I cannot understand those who turn to their clients for sexual release. The relationship between lawyer and client is not mutual. Clients place their trust in us. We are sought in hope; taking advantage of all that hope entails is wrong.

The Register's decision to keep the lawyer's name out of print is troubling to me. Newspapers typically elect to keep the names of sexual assault victims out of the paper. This man is no victim of a sex crime. He was the victim of extortion, and, should be treated no differently that the victim of any economic crime.

I wonder why the Register walked away from the truth in this case.

Read it and weep: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/11/27/news/new_haven/a1-extort.txt
Comments (1)
Posted on November 27, 2009 at 11:16 am by William Doriss
I just checked, and it appears that all of the com...
I just checked, and it appears that all of the comments on this story by Randall Beach have now been removed,...which makes a bad situation even worse. Randy, who is normally a pretty good journalist, was probably just following orders to protect the identity of the 'victim' attorney. So I don't hold him personally accountable.

But I agree with you, this 'victim' needs no more protection from the press than David Letterman in his recent kerfuffle. Letterman survived, and all is forgotten, or forgiven.

Of course this is not the first time the Ragister has removed some or all comments on a story, which policy I disapprove of, unless those comments are really, really over-the-top. Recently, the dustup over Mayor April Capone-Almon's alleged interfering with a police officer and subsequent arrest resulted in a sequence of Ragister stories where the internet forum lit up like a Christmas tree with strong opinions on both sides. (My own comments supported the mayor.) I recall at least one whole comment section being removed, which raises the question: Why even have an open, anonymous forum if distasteful and/or disagreeable comments are going to be removed? Who exactly does the removing, and upon what justification?

And, as long as I'm on here, I might as well comment on Paul Bass's policy of reviewing all submitted comments to the Independent before posting. He seems to have his favorite posters, which I believe is just a little unfair. Furthermore, he is not above blackballing posters once they have crossed his politically-correct expectations once too often. For the record, yours truly is mostly-- but not entirely--blocked for over a year now, with no end in sight, for reasons not exactly clear. Thank god, there are other places to go.

Also, for the record, when I was undergoing a full-blown, bogus two-week criminal trial at GA23 in 2002, I begged Paul to cover my story. He refused, and I don't forgive him. Mine was and still is an important story which has yet to be covered by any press. The Ragister never showed up either, but they did publish my letter regarding my disagreement with the verdict in Edward Grant. On balance, the Ragister has improved in recent years--my opinion--and the day may come when I stop calling it the 'Ragister'!?! There was a time when it was nothing but a fish-wrap. It's the Hartford Courant which has gone down hill something terrible, for economic reasons we are led to believe. And this is very unfortunate for the entire state. Didn't Fox just pick up the Courant?!?
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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