robert johnston robert gilbert johnston.jpgAbove the Law bills itself as “a legal tabloid.” And no tabloid would be complete without a sex scandal. Our scandale du jour emanates from the Windy City, home of John Marshall Law School. The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

When students returned to John Marshall Law School this month, everyone was talking about the lawsuit against “The Colonel.”

Robert “Gil” Johnston, the venerable former dean of the university, was sued by his ex-mistress, Virginia Smith, whom he started dating while she was a law student in 1983. Among other claims, she said Johnston beat her, promised to marry her, then, after his wife died, married someone else.

Generations of students have noted a resemblance between Johnston, with his cotton candy white hair and goatee, and Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Sanders.

Johnston’s attorney said the former dean admits the affair, but denies any abuse on his part.

Of course, Robert Johnston isn’t the only university dean to get with a student. Affairs between law school students and faculty or administration members are, shall we say, not uncommon.
But this isn’t the end of the story. More salacious details appear after the jump.


According to Smith, the affair was pretty hot and heavy:

Smith’s complaint is loaded with salacious allegations that Johnston made his first pass at her in 1981 and started having sex with her in 1983 in his office at John Marshall, in his car and at her home.

Johnston denies any sex in his office or car, Mirabelli said.

Smith alleges that Johnston abused her on multiple occasions:

In her lawsuit, Smith said, “On several occasions, Johnston battered Smith by striking, slapping, shoving, and twisting Smith’s face, limbs and body.” Their affair lasted from 1983 until last year when he beat her in her home, she said in the lawsuit.

But Johnston claims that HE was the one who was abused:

In October, students remembered Johnston coming to school with bruises, said Curtis Vosti, editor of the law school newspaper…. “In October, he was sporting bruises at school. It was noticeable. People made their own assumptions,” Vosti said.

Yes, there was a beating in October, Mirabelli said. That was when Johnston went to break the news to Smith that he was engaged to marry Jane Oswald, an associate dean at the school. It was Smith who beat Johnston, Mirabelli said.

“At the time he informed her, she clearly did not take the news well,” Mirabelli said.

Oooh boy. If Dean Johnston is telling the truth, then Smith should be played by either Sharon Stone or Glenn Close in the Lifetime channel movie. One source, who knows her personally, told us this about Smith:

She is a total loon. Please make this anonymous, as I’m sure I will get in trouble some how, or that she’ll sue me for defamation. And believe me, you should really try to track down a picture of her. It makes the allegations all the more, I don’t know, horrifying.

Our quick image search didn’t turn up anything. But on the off chance that one of you might have a photo of Ms. Smith, please contact us.
The Sun-Times article mentions that Smith was listed in the most recent edition of Sullivan’s Law Directory as an employee of Accenture. We understand, however, that she no longer works there. If you know what she might be up to these days, besides suing former paramours, let us know.
Law School Abuzz Over Affair [Chicago Sun Times]
Robert Gilbert Johnson [John Marshall Law School bio]


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