Lawyer's Contract Draws D.A.'s Interest : Ventura County: The State Bar will be asked to investigate attorney's job applications that allow 'sexual acts.'

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Ventura lawyer already facing LSD charges may be in more trouble for asking female job applicants to sign a contract allowing him to engage in "sexual acts, touching, lewd behavior, etc."

Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury has confirmed that he will ask the State Bar to investigate the contract written by attorney Douglas Andrew Palaschak.

Although officials are not aware of anyone signing the contract, Bradbury said, "We have received numerous complaints and information from young women concerning Mr. Palaschak's inappropriate behavior in this regard."

He said Palaschak, 42, frequently runs help-wanted ads in local newspapers "as a means of meeting young women . . . to initiate a sexual or romantic relationship."

Palaschak said he came up with the contract to protect himself against sexual blackmail.

"It's part of the men's movement," he said. "Men are vulnerable. The sex laws are biased against men. To overcome the bias, you have to do something like this."

The attorney, who said he has been through at least 50 secretaries in the past year, said only one of them signed the contract, but quit recently after working only one day.

"Most of the girls who worked for me were not exploited," he said.

In one copy of the contract obtained by The Times, Palaschak acknowledged to a prospective employee that she had been chosen "primarily on the basis of sexual appeal." The agreement describes Palaschak as a mentor and the prospective female employee as his protegee.

"Mentor and Protegee hereby mutually consent to all words, acts, sexual innuendo, sexual acts, touching, lewd behavior, etc.," the contract says. "This clause does not anticipate any sexual activity but is designed to protect primarily the mentor against sexual blackmail."

It adds: "Palaschak further discloses that he is currently looking for a new girlfriend and that protegee is a candidate."

The end of the contract lists "the non-work things Palaschak would like protegee to do. None of them are compulsory.

"Sex and romance would be nice.

"If not you, then help me find somebody else.

"I need a new apartment.

"I need somebody to go to the beach, blade skate, etc., with me."

In a cover letter to a prospective employee, Palaschak described the document as his "standard contract," and said: "I could be way out of line with this contract, but I like adventure."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim George Gibbons, who is prosecuting Palaschak on LSD charges, said he does not believe that the contract violates any laws. But he doubted that it would protect Palaschak if an employee filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment.

"It might have a chilling effect on a young girl working for the first time in a law office. . . . If someone touches her, she would feel she had no recourse," Gibbons said.

"The district attorney feels it is important to protect the public from this sort of behavior."

Palaschak acknowledged that the State Bar has contacted him to get his account of his May 9 arrest on LSD charges.

Palaschak has been charged with possession of LSD, conspiracy to possess LSD, and furnishing LSD to a minor. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, and he is free on his promise to appear in court.

Palaschak and his receptionist at the time, 18-year-old Jessica Tobin, were arrested after police raided the attorney's office on Telephone Road and said they found LSD in Jobin's purse.

The charge involving the minor stems from the attorney's alleged offer of LSD to a 17-year-old employee that same day.

In an interview in June, Palaschak admitted that he was high on LSD when the police raided his office, but he denied committing a crime.

Palaschak said he is looking for a new girlfriend and said there is nothing wrong with trying to find one through his work.

"One of the best ways to meet people is to meet them through work," he said.

"I just happen to be in a position to choose who gets in."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
66°