Criminal Justice

Lawyer complains that opposing counsel received 'small slap on the wrist' for alleged assault

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A Houston attorney isn’t happy about a plea deal for a San Antonio lawyer she accused of grabbing her buttocks in a courthouse lobby.

Lawyer Michelle Acosta told the Texas Lawyer that lawyer Allan Manka received only a “small slap on the wrist” for the alleged June assault at the courthouse in Floresville. She also vented on Facebook, where more than 130 people commented on her post.

Manka accepted a plea deal that requires him to pay a $400 fine and donate $100 to a children’s services nonprofit. If he stays out of criminal trouble for 90 days, the misdemeanor assault charge will be dropped.

Acosta is general counsel of a Houston vegetation management company. She had traveled to Floresville to represent her brother in a child custody matter, according to the Texas Lawyer account. Manka represented the ex-wife of Acosta’s brother.

Acosta said Manka touched her twice, first on the waist after the hearing and then on the buttocks after they completed negotiations for their clients.

Acosta said she extended her hand as a departing gesture at the end of the negotiations. Instead of accepting her outstretched hand, Manka reached behind her back and grabbed her buttocks, Acosta alleges.

“He gets a handful of my rear end and squeezed. It wasn’t like a pat: It was a grab and squeeze,” Acosta told the Texas Lawyer.

A surveillance video shows Manka reaching around Acosta’s waist in the first incident. It also shows Manka reaching behind Acosta and Acosta’s startled reaction in the second incident, but any buttocks squeeze was blocked from view.

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