A former Washington lawyer disbarred in 1981 for engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with juvenile clients was denied reinstatement (PDF) to the D.C. Bar today by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
The court agreed with a report (PDF) from the Board on Professional Responsibility that found that Roger H. Moore repeatedly failed to fully answer other bar admission applications truthfully about his history in the Washington region.
"His failure to recognize the seriousness of his misconduct and his evasiveness in his bar applications, including the petition for reinstatement herein, means that he has failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he has the moral character required for reinstatement,” the board committee members wrote.
The Office of Bar Counsel had recommended permanent disbarment, but the court declined to address that issue.
Moore, who now practices law in Colorado and Hawaii, did not return a request for comment. He joined the D.C. Bar in 1974 and practiced as a solo practitioner; his work included taking assignments as a court-appointed lawyer in District of Columbia Superior Court for juvenile clients.
According to the board report, a 16-year-old client of Moore’s told police in 1979 that Moore had engaged in sexual relations with him. Moore was eventually charged in the early 1980s with several counts of criminal sexual conduct in Virginia and the District. He was found guilty of molesting a child in Virginia and pleaded guilty to similar charges in one case in the District.
Moore spent a year in jail and moved to Colorado after he was released in 1983. He worked as a paralegal until 1991. In 1985, he applied for admission to the Colorado Bar and, according to the board report, failed to fully disclose the details of what had happened in the District. He described his convictions, but, the board wrote, he “failed to disclose that all of the charges involved teenagers whom he had met through his legal practice in the juvenile division of D.C. Superior Court."
He was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1990. In 2002, Moore applied to take the Hawaii Bar exam. Again, the board accused of him of failing to disclose details of his misconduct and convictions. For instance, when asked to list his previous residences, Moore did not write that he had been in jail from 1980 to 1983. The Hawaii Supreme Court denied Moore’s application, finding that he had failed to provide all of the requested information.
In 2009, Moore applied for reinstatement with the D.C. Bar. According to the board, he failed to include information on his criminal history, as well as civil cases he had been a party to in the past and other personal information.
The board recommended denying his petition, although the report noted that there is no evidence that Moore has engaged in any of the misconduct that got him disbarred 30 years ago. “Petitioner has, however, engaged in a pattern of conduct with respect to his various bar applications that reflects poorly on his present character,” the board commission wrote.