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Ex-SMU Law School Dean Arrested on Prostitution Charge

By Mark Wilson, Esq. | Last updated on

Another month, another law school faculty member in legal hot water. Back in November, it was just an adjunct professor at U. Conn. being nabbed in a prostitution sting.

If today's news is any indication, the faculty are really stepping up their game. According to The Dallas Morning News, a former dean of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law was arrested on what the paper called "a prostitution charge."

Those Handcuffs Are Narrowly Tailored

That's right: The only thing that could trump this would be a current dean getting arrested on a prostitution charge, but we'll take what we can get.

John Attanasio was the dean of SMU's law school for a whopping 15 years, from 1998 to 2013, when SMU declined to renew his contract. After he lost his dean job, he remained the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law.

But Attanasio found himself under some strict scrutiny Sunday morning after being arrested for "a prostitution charge" identified as a "Class B misdemeanor," for which he posted $500 and was released. Simple solicitation for prostitution or agreeing to prostitution is most likely the alleged violation.

The law school kept its lips zipped, telling the Morning News only that "it would not be appropriate for SMU to comment on a matter that is under investigation by area police."

Another Day, Another Prostitution Charge

Attanasio currently enjoys an overall 5/5 rating on the website Rate My Professors, where he's described as "an extremely polished lecturer" who apparently uses chaos theory in the classroom. Notably, he has a ranking of "hot," represented by one chili pepper. He's also a scholar in the field, having co-authored a Con Law casebook (published by that other company) and publishing articles in several fancy law reviews.

As lawyer scandals go, this one seems pretty tame. If only there were more salacious details, such as the ones that attended the U. Conn. adjunct's story. Where's the sting operation? Where's the part about trying to run away once he was nabbed?

Perhaps this simple case of prostitution will turn into a greater scandal, just like former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCafferey's "porn scandal" revealed what the other justices really thought of him. (Porn? Not so interesting. Judicial in-fighting? Now we're talking!)

Maybe we'll be let in on the details of Attanasio's ouster as dean back in 2013, something that took everyone at SMU by surprise and resulted in quite a bit of criticism from students, faculty, and alumni. Unfortunately, we would never be that lucky.

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