PORTLAND, Ore. – A woman who says she was sexually abused by her lawyer in the back of a limousine when she was 16, is suing him for $4 million.
The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit anonymously, claims she realized only in the past few months that the abuse she suffered in 1988 had caused her significant problems in the years since then.
The plaintiff claims that she came to this realization after reading recent news coverage of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s.
The lawsuit is against Robert L. Wolf, who was out of state and unavailable for comment, according to his office.
Wolf represented the woman in a lawsuit stemming from a 1987 automobile accident that seriously injured her. Among her injuries were cognitive and memory impairments.
On April 29, 1988, a county judge approved a $200,000 accident settlement. Wolf received $49,993 in attorney fees.
Later that day, Wolf, then 38, rented a chauffeured limousine and arranged to take his client to a hair stylist, the suit says.
In the back of the limo, Wolf provided wine to the girl, the suit says. As the chauffeur drove around Portland, Wolf had sex with her, according to the suit.
The woman was still suffering cognitive impairments at the time, the suit alleges.
A few days later, the chauffeur reported the incident to the police. Wolf was charged with two misdemeanor sex offenses. Wolf admitted having sex with the girl and knowing how old she was, but said he thought the age of consent was 16. He also denied that the sexual encounter harmed the girl.
When the girl said she did not want to testify, a judge approved a deal in which Wolf avoided prosecution by entering into a diversion program.
The Oregon State Bar also investigated Wolf. In 1992, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended him for 18 months, then reinstated him in 1994.
Erin K. Olson, the attorney who represents the woman in her suit against Wolf, said Oregon's statute of limitations allows someone abused as a child to file suit within three years of realizing that the abuse caused problems as an adult.
Olson said her client saw many similarities between her problems and those suffered by Goldschmidt's victim.
"She certainly struggled since this happened," Olson said of her client.
Wolf was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1977. He is the subject of eight bar complaints. Five were dismissed and one resulted in the 18-month suspension. Two are currently under consideration.