John B. Attanasio, a respected litigator, professor and former dean of SMU (Southern Methodist University Law School ), was arrested yesterday (February 1, 2015) in Collin County Texas on a prostitution charge.
While news of the charge makes no distinction, in this case, of solicitation or promotion of prostitution Texas Penal Code defines prostitution as the following:
Sec. 43.02. PROSTITUTION. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:
(1) offers to engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct for a fee; or
(2) solicits another in a public place to engage with the person in sexual conduct for hire.
(b) An offense is established under Subsection (a)(1) whether the actor is to receive or pay a fee. An
offense is established under Subsection (a)(2) whether the actor solicits a person to hire the actor or
offers to hire the person solicited.
The news is shocking to the Dallas legal community as Attanasio was a revered SMU dean who helmed the school for 15 years. In fact, a few years ago when the attorney’s contract was not renewed, the news inspired outrage from trustees and alumni.
In contrast, current students seemed to point to a darker side of Attanasio as recently as 2013. As one anonymous emailer to “Above The Law: Blog” “Dean Attanasio is immensely arrogant (his image once appeared on half the pages in the annual alumni magazine), he is a relic of the past (he cannot use a computer, so his emails are printed and hand-delivered to him by his secretary), he is unpopular with the faculty (a few promising, young tenure-track professors have left for other similarly-ranked schools in search of healthier administration), and he is incredibly unpopular with students (should he be bothered to acknowledge their painful presence).”
Whatever personality quirks Anttanasio may display, it is certain that he now he an uphill battle to climb to retain his good reputation. Most importantly he’ll have a fight in the courtroom as well.