On Friday, April 7, 2023, the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio recommended the suspension of former United States Attorney Mark Stewart Bennett over sexual harassment allegations made by an intern of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.

The case is titled ‘In the Matter of Mark Stewart Bennett,’ case no. 2022-034.

The charges cited Bennett’s violation of Rule 8.4(h) of the Professional Conduct Rules, which states that:

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.

In a Complaint filed on August 18, 2022, complainant, J.S. alleged that during her internship at the Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown offices of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), Bennett touched her breast, asked her for nude photos, and asked what she would be willing to do in exchange of a letter of recommendation. It was further alleged that Bennett offered to buy J.S. clothing from Victoria’s Secret, discussed his marital sex life, and other inappropriate actions.

According to the Board’s Findings of Fact, after J.S. informed a colleague about her interaction with Bennett, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General commenced an investigation into the allegations against Bennett.  During the investigation, Bennett admitted that he had asked J.S. for nude photos and he stated that he was unaware of J.S.’s discomfort, and he mistakenly believed that J.S. wanted a sexual relationship with him or that J.S. was receptive to his sexual comments. Moreover, Bennett expressed his remorse and he admitted that his actions toward J.S. were inappropriate.

Thereafter, Bennett resigned from the USAO and self-reported his actions to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

The hearing panel, upon consideration of the parties’ stipulation, recommended that Bennett receive an actual six-month suspension, with no time stayed, and Bennett’s reinstatement is conditioned upon proof that Bennett continued with his current course of mental health counseling.

In light of the foregoing facts, and Bennett’s admissions of misconduct, the Board voted to adopt the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations of the hearing panel and filed its recommendation before the Supreme Court of Ohio.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Bennett is the founding member of Bennett Legal, LLC serving Westlake, Ohio. He earned a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Bennett has been licensed in Ohio, with license number #0069823.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.