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Lawyer not guilty of forcing client to have sex

But Bruce Young was found guilty of unbecoming conduct, based on accusations that he kept a "sexual retainer contract' in his office.

Published April 5, 2006

TAMPA - Pinellas lawyer Bruce R. Young was found not guilty Wednesday of two lurid Florida Bar complaints, but guilty of a third charge. The judge who decided the case recommended the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimand Young.

Young could have been disbarred had Judge Raul C. Palomino Jr. found him guilty of all three complaints. But the judge dismissed two charges, including one that alleged Young coerced sex from a female client going through a custody battle.

Palomino found Young guilty of conduct that is "prejudicial to the administration of justice" based on allegations that he had a "sexual retainer contract" document in his office.

Palomino said he heard Young testify that he kept a copy of the contract in his office as a joke. Young told the judge Wednesday that he did not have a physical piece of paper, though the contract was a longstanding joke among the office staff and some clients.

"Every lawyer hears about that ... but this is the first time I've heard ... that somebody had one drawn up ... and presented it to clients," Palomino told Young. "And that bothers me."

Palomino also was disturbed by Young's admissions that he sometimes used foul language with clients. "I do acknowledge my language is colorful," Young said.

The case now will go the Florida Supreme Court, which can accept or alter Palomino's decisions. The state's high court rarely overturns a judge's decision on guilt, but more frequently alters the punishment.

[Last modified April 5, 2006, 12:44:02]

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