A former judge and public defender who was convicted of felony official misconduct after he was accused of sexual contact with jailed clients has resigned rather than face an attorney discipline hearing related to the charges.
Clark G. Rehme, who was suspended from the practice of law in February, submitted his resignation from the bar, which the Indiana Supreme Court accepted in an Aug. 15 order. The court wrote Rehme’s resignation “requires an acknowledgement that the material facts alleged are true and that (Rehme) could not successfully defend himself if prosecuted.”
Rehme, a former Lawrence Township Small Claims Court judge in Indianapolis, was charged in June 2015 with Level 5 felony sexual misconduct by a service provider and Level 6 felony official misconduct. He pleaded guilty in September 2016 to official misconduct for incidents that happened on or about May 20, 2015, and June 22, 2015.
That was when Rehme was a Shelby County public defender representing two female clients who were in jail awaiting trial on unspecified charges. The victims, identified in his attorney discipline case as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, claimed that Rehme engaged in inappropriate sexual conversations. Jane Doe 1 alleged Rehme had visited her in jail six times in less than a month. She said on two occasions, he exposed his penis and she had sexual contact with him. She said Jane Doe 2 also had told her about sexual conversations Rehme had with her.
When Jane Doe 1 contacted a jail captain, she told him she no longer wanted Rehme as her lawyer. After she explained the situation, sheriff’s officers launched an investigation the same day. Jane Doe 2 agreed to meet with Rehme on the condition jail officers monitor and record the activity in the jail interview room. When Rehme next visited her in jail, he talked with her about her case before ultimately asking her to expose her breasts, after which he exposed himself, according to the disciplinary complaint.
“After J.D. 2 was sitting directly next to Respondent, he put his hand in J.D. 2’s lap and had sexual contact with J.D. 2,” the complaint says. “Major Lewis Koch of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department entered the jail interview room and J.D. 2 left the room[.] … Respondent asked Koch, ‘what did I do wrong?’ and Koch responded by saying, ‘you tell me.’ Respondent indicated that he did not know what was wrong and Koch further stated, ‘I think you do.’ Respondent proceeded to stand up and put his hands behind his back in preparation for handcuffing.”
The commission alleged Rehme’s conduct violated of Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16(a)(1), 1.7(a)(2), 1.8(j), 8.4(a), 8.4(b) and 8.4(d).