Auburn attorney Seth Carey, who ran unsuccessfully for district attorney in Oxford, Franklin and Androscoggin counties while his law license was suspended, will be unable to practice law for the next three years.
A superior court judge has found that Carey violated rules of professional conduct by engaging in unlawful sexual contact and tampering with a witness. Carey had been under a previous discipline order when he campaigned for DA earlier this year. The judge ordered Carey to undergo treatment for a personality disorder and suspended him once again.
Jim Howaniec is Carey’s attorney.
“We just think that this is a good person, a good man, who has some untreated mental health issues, and we’re hoping that, moving forward, he can get the treatment that he needs and become a successful attorney,” Howaniec said.
Howaniec said that his client denies the allegations of sexual assault, and has not yet decided whether he will appeal his suspension to the Maine Supreme Court.
“As far as what we intend to do moving forward we have, I believe, 21 days to decide whether we’re going to appeal the decision to the Maine Supreme Court,” Howaniec said. “Of course, we have to be cautious moving forward on that issue because when you appeal you can get a better result or you can also get a worse result.”
The Board of Overseers of the Bar had been seeking Carey’s disbarment, a step reserved for “exceptionally egregious cases.” Carey has received disciplinary sanctions on three prior occasions, but because he has acknowledged that he has a mental health problem, the judge said he should be given an opportunity to address it.
In his order, Justice Thomas Warren said one of the most problematic of Carey’s violations was that he ran for district attorney in Oxford, Franklin and Androscoggin counties while his law license was suspended, which Warren said could be characterized as a “serious misrepresentation to voters.”