Legal Ethics

City Settles Suit, Ex-City Attorney's Law License Is Suspended re Court Sex During Plea Negotiations


The city of Holland, Mich., and a former deputy city attorney have settled on undisclosed terms a federal lawsuit filed by a defendant in a drunken-driving case who said she was raped by the lawyer, Carl Gabrielse, in a jury room bathroom during plea negotiations in a Holland District Court drunken-driving case.

Gabrielse was then an associate of Cunningham Dalman, which had a contract to do legal work for the city. He pleaded guilty last year to a felony and was sentenced to six months in jail. He has since had his law license suspended for three years, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

Before the civil case was settled, the city argued that Gabrielse’s alleged conduct was secret, unlawful and contrary to the city’s guidelines for his work and he argued that the sex was consensual.

A lawyer for the woman said the claim of consensual sex was contradicted by Gabrielse’s guilty plea in the criminal case. He originally was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and misconduct in office as a deputy city attorney. However, after he successfully completed probation, he was allowed to plead guilty instead to gross indecency between a male and a female, a lesser felony that doesn’t require registration as a sex offender.

The woman was fined and given probation in the drunken-driving case.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Former City Attorney Pleads to Felony in Courthouse Sex Case”

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