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Friday, October 20, 2017

Newport attorney under investigation
A 19 year-old woman tells Newport police that she was sexually harassed while in the office of a Newport attorney on Tuesday. The woman told Patrol Officer David Clevenger she went to the attorney for assistance in obtaining a divorce. During the consultation, the attorney reportedly asked the woman about her sex life and asked "if the sex was good ". The complainant says the attorney then began talking about oral sex and asked her to stand and turn in front of him. The attorney then said he'd like to find out "how good she was and that he could teach her a few things." When the woman asked how much a divorce would cost her, the attorney reportedly said he usually charges $2,000 but he would charge her only $1,000 and they "would work it out between the two of them." The complaint has been turned over to the Office of Fourth Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, however no charges have been filed. The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility investigates such complaints where Sandy Garrett, is the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Garrett says her office investigates ethics complaints against attorneys if there may be violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which outline the ethical guidelines that govern attorneys. "The rule that jumps to mind would be a conflict of interest rule. An attorney by proposing (a reduced fee in exchange for sexual favors) would be a violation of an attorney's conflict of interest rule because he would be proposing something in his own personal interest, contrary to the interest of his client." The investigator says there are other general rules that stipulate that an attorney should not engage in conduct that is "prejudicial to the administration of justice". She said there are no rules that directly address the subject matter in the police department complaint A complaint must be filed before the Board of Professional Responsibility begins an investigation.

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