It’s almost law school exam time, so let’s run through some hypotheticals. An uncle having sex with his niece: should that constitute illegal incest?
What about an uncle having sex with his nephew? Does the fact that it’s “gay incest,” with no possibility of procreation, make it less troubling?
What about an uncle and his nephew allegedly getting a teenage male drunk and tag-teaming him? Whether or not it’s “incest,” it sounds problematic.
According to Chicago prosecutors, such a situation unfolded last week. And the oldest man in the threesome is a partner at one of the world’s leading law firms….
Here’s a report from the Chicago Tribune:
A real estate attorney at a major Chicago law firm and his nephew were charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man who told authorities he blacked out after consuming one-and-a-half drinks at the attorney’s South Side home last week.
Bail was set at $150,000 each for Stanley Stallworth, 50, a partner at Sidley Austin [and a lawyer there] for more than 20 years, and his nephew, Therrie Miller, 22, of Dolton.
The alleged victim told authorities he met Miller at a South Holland barbershop on Nov. 27 and that the next day Miller texted him and asked if he wanted to hang out at his uncle’s home, said Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Dibler.
At Stallworth’s Bronzeville home in the 3300 block of South Calumet Avenue, the teen alleged he was pressured into consuming a drink, Dibler said. After drinking one and part of another, he lost consciousness and woke up to find Miller performing a sex act on him, she said. The teen alleged he tried to fight off the assault but then Stallworth performed a sex act on him as well, she said.
Wow — those are quite the claims. Additional allegations appear in the Chicago Sun-Times:
The victim woke up the next morning naked, prosecutors said.
Miller then drove the victim, where he informed his mother and was taken to St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond, Ind., where a rape kit was performed, according to court records.
Stallworth and Miller are charged with one count each of criminal sexual assault, according to court records.
Stallworth’s lawyer described his client as an attorney with “strong ties to the community” and told Judge Israel Desierto that Stallworth would promptly post bail. As a longtime partner at Sidley, Stallworth should have no problem posting the $300,000 in bail for himself and his nephew (a student at St. Xavier University and employee of Harris Bank).
We reached out to Sidley Austin, which issued the following statement through a spokesperson:
The Firm just became aware of certain criminal charges filed today concerning Stan Stallworth, a partner in the Firm. We understand that Stan has entered a plea of not guilty and intends to vigorously contest those allegations.
While the charges do not relate to the Firm or the practice of law, Stan has requested and has been granted leave from the Firm to devote his full attention to addressing these charges.
The Firm will have no further comments.
According to Chambers and Partners, Sidley has one of the top real estate practices in Chicago (Band 1). But some of the individual partners in the practice group have had… issues. Remember the tale of Lee Smolen, former head of the practice group, who got hit with legal ethics charges concerning more than $100,000 in allegedly improper reimbursement requests. (Smolen, who’s now a DLA Piper partner, is challenging the charges.)
Back to Stanley Stallworth. As you can see from his Sidley bio — already updated to note that he’s “on leave” — he is an impressive and accomplished individual. After graduating from Alabama A&M (summa cum laude) and the University of Wisconsin Law School, he joined Sidley in 1990, where he has spent his entire career. He served as firm-wide co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and also served on the firm’s Diversity Task Force and on the Recruitment Committee.
The Sidley sources we’ve heard from so far expressed shock at the charges against Stan Stallworth. “He’s very nice,” one tipster told us. “Very involved in the summer program. Would never have expected this.”
Remember that right now we’re dealing with mere allegations. And given how lurid and surprising the charges are, my own suspicion is that we’re missing some big pieces of the puzzle.
We’ll continue to monitor this story. If you have additional information to share about Stanley Stallworth, please email us or text us (646-820-8477). Thank you.
UPDATE (11:45 p.m.): The website of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) contains an interesting profile of Stallworth. The story, from the November/December 2007 issue of Diversity & The Bar, doesn’t mention him having a spouse or partner or kids, but it does provide some background about his upbringing:
The product of small town Evergreen, Alabama, Stallworth was encouraged to succeed by his parents. His mother was a high school librarian, and his father was a high school coach and principal with business interests on the side. Stallworth graduated salutatorian from the local high school and went on to attend his father’s alma mater, Alabama A&M University, in Huntsville, on an academic scholarship. At the historically black college, Stallworth was elected student body president and became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation’s first fraternity for African American men, and later graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and biology.
He entered law school at the largely white University of Wisconsin in 1987 with plans for returning to Evergreen soon after graduation to help his father grow the family’s successful slaughtering business. Preparing for a lifetime of corporate law and billion-dollar deals was not on his radar, but real estate law struck him as something practical — even in a small town, he could always buy and sell property. (Today, he owns more than 160 acres of real estate in Evergreen, including a home where he displays more than 20 pieces of African American art.)
The profile focuses on Stallworth’s interest in the art world. He’s an avid collector, part-owner of an art gallery, and a painter himself.
UPDATE (12/7/2013, 12:10 a.m.): A commenter’s dismissive attitude towards Stallworth’s Bronzeville neighborhood piqued my curiosity about his lawyerly lair, so I did some snooping. It appears that Stallworth purchased it in March 2005 for $170,000, Cook County estimates its value at $465,250, and Zillow estimates its value at $685,370. So this real estate lawyer sounds like a savvy real estate investor. But even assuming a value at the high end of the range, a $700,000 home is not particularly impressive, at least by Biglaw partner standards. Perhaps more of his net worth is tied up in his art collection and his real estate holdings in Alabama.
Chicago attorney, nephew charged in sexual assault [Chicago Tribune]
Attorney, nephew charged with sexually assaulting man [Chicago Sun-Times]
Chicago Lawyer, Nephew Charged With Sexual Assault [DNAinfo Chicago]
BigLaw partner charged in rape case [ABA Journal]