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Lawyer Charged with Assault for Alleged Courthouse Bear Hug

Posted Jun 15, 2009 8:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Massachusetts lawyer has been charged with assault and battery for an alleged bear hug of another attorney in a courthouse lobby.

An assistant clerk magistrate found probable cause last week for the charges against lawyer Robert LeBlanc, who is deputy legal counsel for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Lawyer Pamela Saia-Rogers told police that the incident occurred last Nov. 18 as she was talking to other lawyers in the Lawrence courthouse lobby. A police report says Saia-Rogers claimed LeBlanc grabbed her from behind, "wrapped his arms around her midsection just below her breast and pulled her tightly to him, pressing his pelvis against her backside" in a bear hug.

"She states he stated aloud to the colleagues standing there, 'Isn't she a beautiful Republican?' " the report said. Saia-Rogers said she waited until February to report the conduct to police because bar authorities were not acting on her complaint.

Both Saia-Rogers and LeBlanc represent indigent defendants. LeBlanc told the newspaper that Saia-Rogers' "story has changed since time has marched on since Nov. 18." Originally, she said nothing about a pelvis touching, he said.

He noted that Saia-Rogers failed in an attempt to get approval for a charge of indecent assault at the probable cause hearing. "Yesterday obviously was a huge victory, and another will follow," he told the Eagle-Tribune. "I'm confident at the end of the day I will be vindicated."

LeBlanc is “well-known in local political and civic circles,” the story says. He served as town manager and a council member of Methuen and is “involved with a bevy of community groups.”

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