(CN) – The Kansas Supreme Court suspended Anderson County Attorney Frederick Campbell from practicing law for six months after he showed photos of underage drinkers to the children’s parents.
Law enforcement officers gave Campbell photos of minors at a party, including one girl who later claimed she was sexually assaulted by a foreign exchange student. Campbell decided not to prosecute the case, despite photos of the sexual encounter, because he said the conduct appeared to be consensual.
Campbell decided to show the photos to parents of minors who had attended the party. He obscured some of the faces and body parts in the photos, but not all of them.
The girl’s lawyer contacted Campbell about sealing the photos, but Campbell refused, and even dared the girl’s parents to sue him.
“As the photographs you refer to are evidence of criminal activity by several minors and I cannot lawfully withhold evidence, I have allowed and will continue to allow the parents of potential respondents to view altered versions of them, in my office,” Campbell wrote to her parents. “I further want to thank you for any future litigation that you pursue in this matter, as it will inevitably generate a large amount of publicity for the issue of underage drinking … and the harmful effects of minors engaging in public sexual acts.”
The state Supreme Court agreed with the hearing court’s assertion that “allowing parents of minors attending the party to view photos of (the girl) partially clothed and photographs of sexual intercourse bears no relation to decreasing underage drinking.”
The hearing court imposed a 90-day suspension, but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that six months would be more appropriate.
“In view of what we discern as respondent’s continued inability or unwillingness to come to grips with the devastation his conduct has wrought in at least one life,” the justices wrote, “and the potential for it to chill reports from victims of future sex crimes and their cooperation with prosecutions of dangerous offenders, we believe a 90-day suspension to be an inadequate sanction.”