Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Akron Attorney Suspended after Soliciting Sex from Undercover Officer Posing as Minor

The Ohio Supreme Court today indefinitely suspended an Akron attorney after he was convicted of soliciting sex from an undercover officer posing online as a 15-year-old boy.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court suspended Harold M. Schwarz III, who pleaded  guilty to importuning, a fifth-degree felony, in February 2019. Schwarz has been under an interim suspension since March 2019.

Suspension Based on Criminal Acts
The Office of the Disciplinary Counsel filed a complaint against Schwarz in June 2019, charging him with violating rules of professional conduct based on the facts that led to his conviction. Schwarz and the disciplinary counsel stipulated to the rule violations, and the Board of Professional Conduct found he broke the rules.

At his disciplinary hearing, Schwarz admitted that through a mobile phone application he exchanged sexually charged text messages with a person he believed was a  minor, but was actually an undercover law-enforcement officer. They arranged to meet at a restaurant.

A Portage County grand jury indicted Schwarz in October 2018 on importuning, under R.C. 2907.07, and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony. Schwarz pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and the attempted unlawful sexual conduct charged was dismissed .

The Portage County Common Pleas Court sentenced Schwarz to three years of community control and designated him a sex offender. He was ordered to undergo a mental-health and sexual-offender evaluation, and was required to follow all recommendations resulting from the assessments.

Based on the acts leading to his conviction, the board found he violated the rule prohibiting a lawyer from committing an illegal act, and he engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.

Board Recommends Suspension
When considering a sanction to recommend for Schwarz, the board considered aggravating circumstances that could increase the penalty and mitigating factors that could lead to a lesser sanction.

The board found Schwarz acted with a dishonest or selfish motive and that his conduct was directed at a vulnerable teenage  victim.

“The board also noted that Schwarz did not appear to express remorse and that he did not appear to understand the gravity of his offense, the vulnerable nature of minors, or the potential adverse consequences to them as a result of solicitation offenses,” the opinion stated.

The board also found Schwarz had no prior disciplinary record, cooperated during the disciplinary proceedings, presented evidence of good character and reputation, and presented evidence of rehabilitation efforts. The board noted that a week after his arrest Schwarz began working with a clinical psychologist and signed a contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP).

The Court accepted the board’s recommendation to indefinitely suspend Schwarz. To be reinstated, Schwarz must demonstrate that he complied with the terms of his criminal case probation and the terms of his OLAP contract. He must also pay for the cost of the disciplinary proceedings.

2019-1738. Disciplinary Counsel v. Schwarz, Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-1542.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

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