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Stripper's private dancing lands DeKalb lawyer in hot water

State commission suspends him 15 months for accepting nude dances as partial payment for her legal fees, report says

By Art Barnum | Chicago Tribune reporter
September 19, 2008

A DeKalb lawyer was suspended for 15 months Thursday for arranging to have a female client perform nude dances for him in exchange for credit on her legal fees, a state commission said.

Scott Robert Erwin, a lawyer since 1980, will begin his suspension Oct. 7, according to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, a branch of the state Supreme Court that conducts investigations into attorney misconduct.

Erwin, with offices at 211 N. 1st St., has not been charged criminally.

Erwin represented the female client and several of her family members on several different types of cases.

The relationship began in 2001 at Heartbreakers, a Compton, Ill., strip club where, after Erwin talked to an exotic dancer, both realized they had talked to each other over the telephone about some pending legal matters, according to the commission's report of the allegations.

Erwin agreed to represent her on several legal matters, and they mutually agreed that she perform nude dances for him in his office as a way to cut down on the legal fees, according to the report.

She claimed that on several occasions from February to June in 2002 she would go to his office, remove her clothing and dance for half-hour sessions. She also claimed that Erwin continued to go to Heartbreakers, where he would pay the $15 entrance fee but wouldn't pay her for performing nude dances.

She claims during the dances at his office, he inappropriately touched her, the report states. He denied any such touching in police interviews.

Erwin credited her for $534, but she complained because her bill had reached $7,000, the report states.

The woman went to DeKalb police in 2002 about the sexual assault allegations, and an investigation led to a hearing before the DeKalb County grand jury in 2003, seeking a charge of criminal sexual assault. The grand jury did not vote for an indictment, the commission report states.

When reached by phone Thursday, Erwin declined to comment. He has no prior disciplinary action from the state. He was a former chairman of the DeKalb County pro bono committee of the DeKalb County Bar Association, according to the commission documents.

The woman, who is no longer an exotic dancer, is married with three children and is a real estate agent, according to the report.

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