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Legal board urges license revocation



Published: Sat, June 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The recommendation will now go to the state's high court for a decision.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- A state disciplinary board has recommended that a Boardman lawyer be suspended indefinitely from the practice of law amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving former clients.

The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recommended to the Ohio Supreme Court that Edward F. Sturgeon's law license be suspended indefinitely based on Sturgeon's "reprehensible and egregious misbehavior" in the matter.

Sturgeon has acknowledged he had sex with one client in March 2003 and exposed himself to another client in June 2003, both at his office in downtown Youngstown, according to the disciplinary board records.

Sturgeon has denied an allegation that he wanted a third woman to trade sex for legal fees in March 2004 at her townhouse in Liberty, disciplinary board records say.

The disciplinary board's recommendation finds that Sturgeon's actions violated various state legal ethics rules.

Mary Jane Stephens, a Youngstown lawyer representing Sturgeon, declined comment Friday, saying she had yet to review the disciplinary board's recommendation.

But a lawyer for the Mahoning County Bar Association, which brought the misconduct case against Sturgeon along with State Disciplinary Counsel, said the recommendation was what the bar association hoped for.

"That is the sanction we sought," said Atty. Ronald Slipski, the bar's counsel.

Both sides will have the opportunity to file objections to the disciplinary board's recommendation.

If objections are filed, the high court could set the matter for oral arguments, Slipski said. Otherwise, the Supreme Court could decide the matter on the records, he said.

Criminal charges

During a disciplinary hearing last year, Sturgeon reportedly acknowledged that he had not been truthful in some of the answers he gave during a deposition with disciplinary counsel investigators.

Sturgeon faces three felony counts of perjury in Franklin County Common Pleas Court for his testimony before the disciplinary counsel, according to court records and prosecutors.

Sturgeon has pleaded innocent to the criminal charges. Sturgeon is charged in Franklin County because his interview with the disciplinary counsel took place in Franklin County.

According to the high court, Sturgeon was admitted to practice law in Ohio in 1979. He obtained his law degree from Ohio Northern University, high court records say.




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