The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that a two-year suspension for Newport attorney Glenn Robinson wasn’t enough.
In a unanimous decision on Friday, the high court overturned a lesser penalty ordered by the state’s professional responsibility board and ordered Robinson disbarred for committing lewd acts around two female employees and violating conflict of interest rules by engaging in a sexual relationship with a divorce client.
“In determining the appropriate sanction to apply in this case, we reiterate that the purpose of sanctions is to protect the public from persons unfit to serve as attorneys and to maintain public confidence in the bar, as well as to deter other attorneys from engaging in misconduct,” reads the decision by justices Paul L. Reiber, Harold E. Eaton, Jr., Karen R. Carroll, Beth Robinson and retired superior court judge Dennis R. Pearson who had been specially assigned to hear the appeal.
Robinson, who is the stepson of former Vermont Attorney General Jerome Diamond and the stepbrother of Vermont Assistant Attorney General Joshua Diamond, had his license to practice law suspended for two years in April of 2018 by the professional responsibility board.
Robinson was also required by the board to complete a sexual harassment education program and undergo a mental health evaluation before he applies for re-reinstatement to practice law.
In rejecting the two-year sanction, the justices said the vulnerability of Robinson’s victims called for the maximum penalty of disbarment.
The court, in its decision, also considered other aggravating circumstances such as Robinson’s pattern of misconduct and the potential injury and harm that Robinson’s conduct has caused to his victims.
The complaints heard by the professional responsibility board included lurid allegations that Robinson masturbated in front of two of the women while they worked in his Newport law office. The women told investigators that the sexual activity was not welcome.
The complaint also included allegations that Robinson manipulated an employee with mental health issues and did not pay the employee for up to seven weeks at a time. The panel also looked into allegations that Robinson tried to throw paper clips into the “breasts and cleavage area” of one of the women.
Robinson will be eligible to reapply for his law license in five years.