From partner to pedophile. From Super Lawyer to Super Creep. It’s time for an update on the story of Aaron Biber, the high-profile Minneapolis lawyer who was going to be the next president of the Minnesota State Bar Association but is now going to be a prison inmate. For a very long time.
Aaron Biber first appeared on our radar screen in December 2009, when we named him a Lawyer of the Day. At the time, Biber — a partner at the prominent Minnesota firm of Gray Plant Mooty, and co-chair of its antitrust practice — was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.
The charges were true, and Biber pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct back in July. Last week, Biber was sentenced.
What kind of sentence did he get? And what additional disturbing details have emerged about his heinous crime?
As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Bad Lawyer), Aaron Biber received a sentence of 18 years in prison. This was closer to the 24 years sought by the prosecution than the probation sought by Biber (who had no criminal record up until this point). Under Minnesota law, the 47-year-old Biber must serve at least 12 of the 18 years before he’ll be eligible for release.
Like a partner wooing a client, Aaron Biber — no relation to Justin Bieber, despite Aaron’s fondest hopes — slowly seduced the boy (who was actually the best friend of Biber’s son, disturbingly enough):
Assistant County Attorney Judy Johnston said Biber, a friend of the boy’s family, exposed himself to the boy, secretly gave him pornography, urged him to masturbate as they spoke on the phone and sent him 1,000 sexual text messages.
Presumably Biber had an unlimited texting plan. Despite being almost 50, he was apparently adept at the teenage trend of sexting — not unlike another middle-aged, male Midwesterner, Ken “I Am the Prize” Kratz (aka the Sexting District Attorney).
The sexting led to sex — of the forcible variety:
[Assistant County Attorney Johnston] recounted all [Biber had] done leading up to the rape, including giving the boy massages and putting his hand down the boy’s shorts. Johnston said the boy “stood his ground,” refusing sex, but in October 2009 Biber got the high school freshman very drunk and had sex with him for more than two hours.
And here’s the sickest part. According to the criminal complaint (via The Blotter), it was “a two-hour session of anal and oral sex without benefit of lubrication or condoms.” The boy needed medical attention afterward. This kind of conduct surely merits
a special place in the hereafter some kind of sentencing enhancement.
The boy was traumatized by the encounter, as reported by the Star-Tribune: “[B]ack at home, the teenager put a loaded shotgun in his mouth and contemplated suicide. Placed in a locked hospital ward, he disclosed what Biber had done.” The police used this knowledge to set up a sting operation, arresting Aaron Biber when he showed up for what he thought was going to be another sex session.
Initially Biber didn’t own up to the full awfulness of his actions. He tried to pass the encounters off as consensual. At sentencing, he and his lawyer argued for probation — i.e., no prison time. They even called a character witness. Not surprisingly, that didn’t go so well:
[One colleague] tried to pass off Biber’s behavior as a mistake worthy of only probation. He was cross-examined so aggressively by a prosecutor that a second character witness backed out of taking the stand.
Was the witness one of Biber’s former partners at Gray Plant Mooty? If so, one has to question this person’s judgment in trying to argue that Biber didn’t deserve prison time for what he did.
The boy victim offered compelling and emotional testimony. He testified about how the crime has undermined his personal relationships and affected his academic performance. He told Hennepin County District Court Judge Lloyd Zimmerman: “I truly feel as if I am alone in this world. I trust no one anymore.”
Certainly never trust a lawyer who wears a bow tie.
Aaron Biber Update: 18 Years for Raping Teen [Bad Lawyer]
Disgraced lawyer Biber gets 18 years for raping 15-year-old boy [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
Aaron Biber sentenced for raping teenage boy [The Blotter / Minneapolis-St. Paul News]
Aaron Biber tearfully pleads guilty in teenager’s rape [The Blotter / Minneapolis-St. Paul News]