An Ohio attorney has been indicted on nearly four dozen criminal charges, including kidnapping and a slew of forgery counts, after prosecutors say he doctored a journal entry that caused a mother to temporarily lose custody of her child.
Sean Porter, 31, of Cleveland, faces one count each of kidnaping and interference with custody, and 22 counts each of forgery and tampering with records.
Porter separately faces disciplinary actions for allegedly having sex with two ‘vulnerable’ female clients while they were in the process of getting divorces.
The criminal case against Porter, formerly an associate at Barr, Jones and Associates, stems from an August 8, 2021, custody hearing in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Division.
Ohio lawyer Sean Porter, 31, has been indicted on a slew of charges, including forgery and kidnapping, after he allegedly submitted a doctored journal entry to the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Division that caused a mother to temporarily lose custody of her child
According to a press release from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, Porter presented to the court a journal entry, which the mother of the 11-year-old girl at the center of the custody battle said was false.
The juvenile court launched an investigation into Porter, which uncovered that the lawyer had allegedly forged and filed false documents in the Ohio Supreme Court, Euclid Municipal Court, and Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division.
Porter, a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law with no prior disciplinary history, is suspected of filing a slew of forged documents, including multiple affidavits from clients involving custody cases.
In one instance, Porter allegedly submitted a fake affidavit from his client George McDougall, blaming a delay in the filing of an appeal in a domestic violence and child endangerment case on the COVID-19 pandemic. The document included a signature that started with the letter ‘G,’ and it was notarized by Porter, reported Cleveland.com.
Porter is expected to be arraigned on the 46 charges listed in the indictment at a later date.
He is also facing potential discipline from the Ohio Supreme Court after the Board of Professional Conduct recommended a two-year suspension of Porter’s law license stemming from his handling of two cases in 2019.
According to the board’s findings released in June, Porter had multiple sexual encounters with a female client who was going through a divorce. The woman was described as a recovering alcoholic who was living and working at a rehabilitation center in California, and was traveling to Ohio to attend court hearings.
Porter is suspected of forging and filing false documents in the Ohio Supreme Court
Porter allegedly told the woman that he would buy a house where the two of them could live with the woman’s three children. The client quit her job in California to prepare for the move, but Porter broke up with her, saying he was ‘just playing her,’ according to documents.
The woman complained to Porter’s then-employer, which took him off her case, reimbursed her all of the attorney fees and made Porter self-report his conduct to the state’s disciplinary body.
By then, according to the Board’s findings, Porter was already having sex with another client, who was also going through a divorce.
On the day Porter was confronted by his employer about his relationship with the first woman, he sent text messages to his new lover, asking her to keep their relation ship a secret, and reassuring her that if she were to get pregnant, ‘We will work together to hide it.’
Porter was fired from Barr, Jones and Associates in December 2019 and joined his father’s law firm just weeks later.
As of Wednesday, Porter’s law license was listed as active in the Ohio Supreme Court’s Attorney Directory.