Respondent challenged the disciplinary hearing panel’s recommendation that he be disbarred for making inappropriate sexual advances towards, and touching, six clients. Respondent’s conduct was caught on camera, and each client confirmed that his sexual advances were unwanted.
Although respondent violated the rules of professional conduct by having a conflict of interest due to his personal and sexual interest in his clients and because his conduct constituted harassment, the court held that an indefinite suspension of one year without leave to apply for reinstatement was the proper discipline where his most egregious violation was his failure to disclose his conflict of interest.
Fischer, J., dissenting: “Mr. Purdy’s conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer and of the legal profession, and anything less than disbarment will not protect the public or preserve the legal profession.”
In re: Purdy (MLW No. 79617/Case No. SC99818 – 19 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Draper, J.) Original Disciplinary Proceeding (Laura E. Elsbury and Carolyn Gail Vasterling, Jefferson City, for petitioner) (Daniel F. Church, Kansas City, for respondent)