Local News

State Bar: Fayetteville lawyer sexually harassed clients

Posted June 14, 2010 2:33 p.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2010 4:20 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina State Bar on Monday disciplined a Fayetteville lawyer after three former clients accused him of sexually harassing them.

The State Bar ordered that attorney William E. Brown cannot represent any women and must transfer the cases of current female clients to other lawyers. He must also undergo a psychological evaluation and follow any recommended treatment.

If he doesn't meet those conditions, Brown's law license will be suspended for three years.

The State Bar found that Brown took advantage of the women's "economic duress" and that his behavior was harmful for his clients and the legal profession.

Brown had denied the allegations that he touched the women sexually, tried to convince them to have sex with him and made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to them.

One woman said that Brown asked her to have sex with him at their first meeting. Another said that he sent her inappropriate text messages that were sexual in nature.

In 2008, Brown served for six months as a court-appointed attorney for one of the women. He was appointed to represent another from 2007 to 2010. The third woman hired him to represent her in a custody dispute in 2007.

The State Bar has investigated previous complaints against Brown. It reprimanded Brown in 2008 for failing to take "substantive action" for a client who hired him to gain custody of his grandsons.