Friday night, the Nose was at one of those society functions where the crowd was overwhelmingly professional, largely white and annoyingly smug.
Sidling up to the bar, the Nose eavesdropped on three gentlemen who were bitching about the crime in our streets and those who have larceny in their veins: guys who offend, serve not nearly enough time, and then offend again.
And while the issue of race and class was never, ever, brought up, it seemed clear just what kind of people they were talking about.
The Nose spent Sunday reading a complaint file and came to appreciate how perceptive the men at the party really were. That's because the file detailed the case of a habitual offender that the system barely punished, one who seemed to be at it once again.
Except this time, the alleged perp was a white middle-class lawyer who, for all the Nose knows, may have been at that very function on Friday night.
The recidivist? Robert Wolf, a prominent lawyer with offices downtown. Wolf has a thriving practice, gifted legal skills and, according to the Oregon State Bar complaint the Nose reviewed, a bit of a problem.
Many years ago, Wolf won an insurance claim for a high-school girl who had been in an auto accident and had suffered neurological damage. To celebrate with his 16-year-old client, he rented a limousine and gave her some cocaine and wine, and they had sex in the back seat. Turned in by the chauffeur, Wolf got caught. Did he do time for statutory rape? Nah. He was told not to practice law for 18 months.
Not long before that incident, Wolf had been caught in his red Porsche with a handful of blow outside a Beaverton bar. Was he tossed into prison? Nah. Try a $250 fine.
And what is the nature of the current complaint against Wolf? According to Crystal Spesard, who was his paralegal for almost four years and is also his client (Wolf represents her in an auto accident case), Wolf, 54, went to the Virginia Cafe with Spesard and others several months ago. Later, Wolf returned to his office with Spesard, 30, and another woman. He offered them cocktails and cocaine, and then--according to statements made by Spesard and the other woman--suggested they all get naked. "During this time," states Spesard in her bar complaint, " Mr. Wolf frequently manipulated his penis and touched my breast."
So why is the Nose sticking his schnozz into the evening activities of a couple of adults? For one, possession of cocaine is a crime. For another, having sexual relations with one's client is--according to the Oregon State Bar--considered misconduct (and, according to the Bar, "sexual relations" includes fondling someone's breast). And lastly is Spesard's troubling assertion that "Mr. Wolf coerced me, with threats of job loss, into undressing. During this time, Mr. Wolf spoke of his need to trust me and how by doing this with him I was guaranteeing my continued employment.... Mr. Wolf told me not to tell anyone or I would be fired."
Based on a preliminary investigation, the bar says the evidence is credible but it is waiting for Wolf's explanation.
Will Wolf lose his license to practice law (one of his specialties, according to his website, is "Sexual Abuse")? Will the district attorney choose to indict him on a drug charge? Will Wolf be offered the chance to rehabilitate himself? Will the legal community treat one of its own (white, middle-class, professional) with kid gloves?
And will those fellows I overheard Friday night realize that their concern about repeat offenders who get off easy is a bit misdirected?