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Group Of Women Attorneys Call Attention To Sexual Harassment In The Courtroom

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A group of women attorneys says they don't know where to turn when it comes to reporting sexual harassment in the courtroom. They tell CBS 2 they felt compelled to come forward after we profiled David Pasulka, the lawyer who is now facing accusations of sexual assault.

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Twenty-eight women family law attorneys wrote a letter to Cook County Judge Grace Dickler, the head of the domestic relations division.

"Many women in our division have endured this type of behavior," said attorney Tania K. Harvey. "Putting an arm around a woman's waist, standing over a woman while sitting in a chair or at a computer."

Harvey signed the letter, which describes a power imbalance between man and women family attorneys.

The letter details a culture where men feel enabled to "disrespect, dominate, and assault/rape the women in our legal community."

"We want people to stand up and denounce the bad behaviors that have been happening," said Harvey. "Most of us have not come forward."

A state disciplinary board for attorneys also accuses Pasalka of offering an exchange of sex for a favorable custody recommendation in a divorce case. For decades Pasulka also held the powerful position of selecting the list of attorneys eligible to represent children in court.

Harvey and several others behind the letter are on that list, vetted by Pasulka, which now has some both in and out of the legal community asking questions.

"I don't think it's fair that just because of what David Pasulka did based on allegations that it would portray a bad light on rest of list," Harvey said.

This group of women attorneys is already making progress. Judge Dickler has reportedly responded to the letter and has agreed to meet with them next month.

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