My boyfriend and I always joke with each other that if we get married and one of us is stupid enough to cheat, then we won’t just get mad, we’ll get even. I personally don’t understand why people cheat — it’s a disgusting thing to do to another person. Can’t you just break it off before you get your rocks off with someone else? I mean, come on, have some common courtesy, folks.
A lawyer in Texas shared my point of view on cheating, but he got mad and apparently took the “getting even” part a little bit too far. In the end, while he might have been $155,000 richer, his law license was indefinitely suspended, and his wife was recently disbarred.
How did this all come to pass? And why did she get disbarred, not her husband?
It all started with a “[p]rofessional woman who [wa]s full of desire but not having her needs met”….
The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals has the details about the disbarment of Mary S. Roberts. On July 6, 2011, the 55-year-old lawyer in San Antonio was the subject of a final judgment of disbarment. She had previously had her license suspended back in June 2008, after she was convicted in February 2008 of five counts of theft. The final judgment of disbarment was entered after her criminal conviction was affirmed in January 2011.
So why was Mary disbarred? How did she commit these “thefts”? I’ll tell you her story, which reads a bit like that of a real-life desperate housewife, and you tell me who should’ve been disbarred — Mary or her husband.
In the fall of 2001, Mary was feeling dissatisfied with her marriage. So, like any honorable woman would do, instead of trying fix her broken relationship, this self-described “demon love slave” started cruising for dudes on the internet.
Mary claimed that her husband, Ted Roberts, also an attorney, had placed a profile on an adult dating website, and she hoped that in some strange twist of fate he would respond to her ad. Mary hooked up with at least five men, none of whom were her husband. Oopsie.
This woman is around the same age as my mother. My mom can barely copy and paste, but this lady was on Adult Friend Finder searching for NSA sex before I even graduated from high school. That makes me feel dirty (and old).
But to get back to the point, Ted hired some private investigators, and needless to say, he was not pleased when he found out the bad news. The Texas District & County Attorneys Association has information on what happened next (emphasis added):
According to one of the private investigators, when he first provided Ted with the text of Mary’s emails, Ted showed genuine emotion and predicted, “When I confront [those men], they’d better bring their checkbook because they’re going to be writing a check to my favorite charity: me.”
And because Ted took advantage of a little-known provision of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, that charity flourished. Apparently hell hath no fury like an emasculated Texan lawyer. See kids? Sometimes it pays to be a true Civ Pro nerd.
Under Rule 202, which allows a party to seek permission to take an investigatory deposition prior to filing suit, Ted submitted draft filings to each of Mary’s lovers, alleging violations of the Texas Penal Code, ranging from obscenity to deviate sexual intercourse. Ted never actually submitted those drafts to a court, but was still able to wrangle $155,000 in settlement money from the men in question, to keep their sexual exploits with his wife quiet.
As I did more digging, I found out that Mary had assisted Ted in the drafting of these Rule 202 petitions. And because she was experienced in “servicing” these gentlemen, Mary also personally served the documents to her former lovers. The couple also used some of the hush money for a down payment on a new house.
But really, so what? What (and who) Mary did doesn’t really add up to what Ted did in the grand scheme of things. Doesn’t it seem like Ted should’ve been the one to be disbarred? The deck sure seems to be stacked in his favor. Let’s compare:
Her crimes: Adult Friend Finder and five extramarital hook-ups.
His crimes: Borderline extortion and blackmail.
Her punishment: Disbarment.
His punishment: Indefinite suspension, coupled with the possibility of an indefinitely sexless marriage.
It seems like Mary got screwed (literally and figuratively). This reminds me of the case of Justice Lori Douglas, another woman who took the hit for misdeeds that were really her husband’s.
So why hasn’t Ted been disbarred? Should he be? Feel free to take a side in the comments.