From The “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Files: The Sarah Lawrence College Scandal

For “don’t ring,” maybe substituting “don’t exist” would be appropriate. I question the competence and sanity of any parent who would allow their child to attend Sarah Lawrence College after this.

You can read the details of the astounding story here and here, but I’m not especially interested in the evil Larry Ray, who was just convicted in New York on 15 counts including extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, obstruction of justice, and various financial crimes, and faces life in prison. Nobody needs an ethicist to explain that his conduct was unethical (I hope!). I’m interested in this [From the Washington Post]:

After a federal securities fraud conviction, charges related to a custody dispute and a bail-jumping case, Ray was released from a stint behind bars in 2010.He began living at his daughter Talia’s dorm suite at Sarah Lawrence, a private liberal arts college in Westchester County, just north of New York City. There, he encountered Talia’s roommates and injected himself into their lives. Ray cooked meals and hosted late-night chats for the college sophomores, promising them he could help them lead “better, more honest lives…He told them that he had special training that could help them gain clarity and discipline…He said if they shared their deepest feelings with him, he could help resolve their problems…

Claudia Drury was 19 when she met Ray at the dorm suite called Slonim Woods 9. She testified that after drawing her into his orbit, Ray eventually physically abused her. At the same time, she said, he convinced Drury that she had tried to poison him and owed him huge sums of money as a result.

Eventually, Drury told jurors, she worked four years as a prostitute, meeting clients in hotel rooms and paying Ray $10,000 to $50,000 per week. In 2018, she said, Ray suffocated her with a plastic bag after she told a regular client that his name was on a website Ray created to post embarrassing and damaging information he could use to control her.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/18/2019: Paranoia, Pettiness, Pirro, Provoked Applicants, Piqued Students, Posturing And Progressives

Good Morning, Pacific Time Zone!

I’m heading to San Diego tomorrow to talk about “Five Looming Ethics Issues for Lawyers  and  Their  Corporate Clients”  to a group of over 600 lawyers. THEY don’t think my analyses of ethics issues violate community standards…okay. I admit it, I’m getting paranoid. Despite a lot of, I humbly believe, useful, timely and well-presented content, the weekend traffic was terrible, and comments were sparse, if excellent. This year, so far, is lagging behind last year, which seriously trailed the year before. What’s going on here? Has Google secretly joined Facebook in its efforts to keep the posts here from reaching an audience? Of could it be that I just suck? Maybe Donald Trump really has killed all belief in ethics…that’s the ticket! Blame the President!

1. Pettiness and vindictiveness vanquished. Good. The Judicial Council of the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals  has affirmed its December decision to reject 83 ethics complaints against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, all filed by bitter partisans who are determined to hurt the newest Justice because the Democrats’ slimy and unethical ambush tactics failed, as they should have. In a 6-1 decision, the judicial council affirmed its earlier finding that the federal law governing misconduct complaints against federal judges does not apply to justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of the complaints filed against Kavanaugh argued he had made false statements under oath during hearings on his nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2004 and 2006 and to the U.S. Supreme Court last year—you know, like having an innocent recollection of what “boof” meant in his completely irrelevant high school year book.  Other complaints accused Kavanaugh of making inappropriate partisan statements in his inappropriately partisan hearings, or claimed he treated members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with disrespect, or as I would put it, the disrespect they deserved for attempting to smear his good name and reputation through demagoguery and calls to reject the presumption of innocence.

Let me remind everyone that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in her confirmation hearings, stated under oath that she had no pre-formed opinions that would affect her objectivity in abortion cases. Nobody filed any ethics complaints. Continue reading

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