Seth Carey, an attorney and Republican candidate for district attorney in Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin Counties, is fighting for the right to continue to practice law after a former client accused him of sexual misconduct and assault.
The former client was granted a protection from abuse order against Carey, who was temporarily suspended in April. The Board of Bar Overseers has also found what it says are other examples of professional conduct violations and is seeking to continue Carey's suspension for two more years or to have him disbarred.
The disbarment hearing that opened in Cumberland County Superior Court Wednesday was, at times, tense and emotional as the alleged victim in the case described how Carey aggressively pursued her for sex after she rented a room in his house in Rumford. She'd been living in her car, she said, and had nowhere else to go. On one occasion she said she awoke to feel Carey intimately touching her body in the middle of the night. He'd come into her room without asking. Another time she said she was sitting in the living room when he grabbed the back of her head and demanded she perform a sex act. She said during the year she lived in the house Carey asked her for sex "hundreds of times" and each time she said, "No."
Jim Howaniec is Carey's attorney, who says there's another side to the story.
"The alleged victim in this matter is a significantly troubled individual with a significant history of filing past protection from abuse proceedings against other men,” says Howaniec. “At least four that she's filed against other individuals, plus another one that she was the defendant in."
And Howaniec questions the timing of the allegations against his client. He says they were brought two days after Carey asked the woman to leave his house.
Asked by bar counsel whether she made any of the incidents up, she said, "No, I did not." She said she didn't report the behavior sooner because she didn't want to get kicked out.
The woman testified that once she did contact police, a detective who came to the house discovered a hidden camera pointed toward her bedroom. After that, she says that Carey started spreading rumors about her on social media, saying that she was "a hooker" and that she'd been fired from her last job for stealing.
If Carey is disbarred he will be considered ineligible to serve as a district attorney. Carey has been previously suspended by the Board. His hearing is expected to continue through Thursday.