CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago family attorney who represented children in the midst of custody battles is accused of offering to recommend a parent get full custody of her children in exchange for sex, in addition to sexually assaulting several employees.
In 2016, David Pasulka offered to recommend that a judge give a woman sole custody of her two children, for whom he was appointed guardian ad litem — an attorney who represents children in a custody dispute — as long as she had sex with him, according to a complaint filed on July 13 by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC).
Pasulka also sexually abused three female employees of his law firm, David P. Pasulka and Associates, between 2012 and 2018, the complaint said.
In Cook County, a guardian ad litem serves as an attorney for the children of parents in divorce or other domestic issues. Guardians ad litem investigate cases and interview the children before ultimately presenting their findings to a judge, who determines the custody arrangement for the children.
The complaint details allegations of sexual abuse beginning in 2012, and documents obtained by CBS 2 indicate the ARDC received its first allegation in March 2017. When asked why the ARDC took over three years from the date of the first allegation to release the formal complaint, an ARDC spokesperson declined to comment citing Illinois Supreme Court rules that prevent the ARDC from discussing disciplinary action.
Pasulka has been suspended from serving as guardian ad litem in Cook County; Judge Grace Dickler, who presides over domestic relations cases, prevented him from doing so on Monday when she found out about the complaint, according to a spokesperson for Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County.
Dickler also suspended Pasulka from “any other Court Committee to which he has been appointed” in the domestic relations division due to the “serious allegations” in the complaint, the spokesperson said.
When asked why Judge Dickler found out about the complaint over a week after it was filed, the ARDC spokesperson replied “I do not know.”
The complaint says Pasulka was explicit about the arrangement: sex in exchange for a favorable recommendation regarding the custody of her two children.
According to the complaint, “(Pasulka) stated to (the woman) that, in order to receive his support in recommending that she receive sole custody, she only had to ‘do a little extra something’ and that she was a ‘smart girl’ and that if she really wanted her children, he could ‘do that’ for her if she would have sex with him.”
The complaint said this wasn’t the first time Pasulka had engaged in sexual misconduct in a professional setting.
According to the complaint, Pasulka repeatedly asked three female employees to engage in sexual acts with him, and often forcibly kissed and inappropriately touched them. The complaint also says that, on several occasions, Pasulka forcibly penetrated the employees.
According to the complaint, Pasulka used his position of power over the employees.
“As (the woman’s) employer, (Pasulka) maintained a position of power over her, in that she was financially dependent upon her job at the firm as her only source of income,” the complaint said of one of the women. “In addition, during the duration of her employment, (Pasulka) routinely told (the woman) about his connections in the family law field, including connections with judges, attorneys, and bar associations and implied his ability to affect her professional success.”
The complaint says Pasulka pressured the women, telling one “he was looking for a ‘team player’ and that she should be a ‘team player’ and that ‘you’re saying no when you should be saying yes,’” the complaint said, adding that Pasulka even told one woman “Your friend, (one of the women in the complaint), does not say no.”
The complaint also alleges “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentations related to manipulation of an alcohol testing device” in a 2017 DUI arrest.
The complaint said that, in 2017, Pasulka consumed as much as a pint of vodka before driving to his home in north suburban Glenview. While driving on the Kennedy Expressway, he rear-ended another car and drove away without stopping, the complaint alleged. Pasulka exited the Kennedy Expressway and drove to a Starbucks in Niles and hit the Starbucks building with his car before driving away, according to the complaint.
Pasulka was eventually stopped by officers with the Niles Police Department, and refused to submit to a portable breath test, according to the complaint. He was charged with a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, and sentenced to 12 months of court supervision, the complaint said.
Pasulka agreed to abstain from drugs and alcohol and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as use a “Soberlink” device, which measures alcohol content, three times a day, the complaint alleged.
The complaint alleges, Pasulka later violated that agreement by relapsing and drinking alcohol on several occasions, as well as tampering with the device.
Pasulka hasn’t been charged criminally in connection with any of the incidents in the ARDC complaint. Both the Chief Judge’s spokesperson and the ARDC spokesperson declined to comment on potential charges citing Illinois Supreme Court rules. A spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said “we have not been asked to review these matters by law enforcement who would conduct the initial investigation.”
Pasulka told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar he denies all the allegations against him. Pasulka said he is a leader in his field and has represented thousands of children, and feels he is being “dragged through the mud,” adding that “this is the worst thing that’s ever been laid on me.”