Criminal Justice

District attorney resigns as part of plea deal in pressured-sex case

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A district attorney in Pennsylvania has resigned as a condition of his guilty plea for allegedly pressuring clients while he was in private practice to engage in prostitution for legal services.

Bradford County District Attorney Chad Salsman pleaded guilty to intimidation, promoting prostitution and obstruction of justice Friday, according to a press release by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

Initial sexual assault charges were dropped., Law 360, the PhillyVoice and the Associated Press have coverage.

Salsman was accused of using his position as a private attorney and then district attorney to intimidate and silence his victims, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in the press release. The women who were pressured into sex included women involved in child-custody and criminal cases.

After Salsman was initially charged in February, he had claimed that the allegations were “vicious lies,” according to the AP.

The case was based on claims by five women who testified to coercion. Shapiro had alleged that Salsman would intimidate and coerce the women into unwanted sexual acts on his desk and then direct them to a bathroom in his office to clean up.

Staff from Salsman’s law firm testified in grand jury proceedings that Salsman had a policy of having them play music, run noise machines or run the air conditioner to drown out the sounds of the client meetings. They also said they repeatedly saw female clients leave his office in tears.

Salsman was elected as district attorney in 2019 and took the oath of office in January 2020.

Defense lawyer Samuel Stretton told Law360 that Salsman will give up his law license.

“He’s moving on with his life,” Stretton said.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

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