Judge says he misperceived interaction at bar event as flirting, leading him to touch lawyer’s ‘lower hamstring’
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A Baltimore judge faces a hearing in May to resolve ethics allegations that he inappropriately touched a female lawyer following a bar association event at the Maryland Club last year.
Judge Kevin M. Wilson is accused of inappropriate behavior after the event in May 2023, which was sponsored by the Bar Association of Baltimore City Young Lawyers Division. The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Banner have coverage. They credit the Maryland Daily Record with breaking the story.
Wilson is accused of touching the lawyer when she stopped at a table where Wilson and another judge were seated after the event. As the lawyer was facing the other judge, she reported feeling Wilson’s hand touched her leg in an up and down movement, according to the statement of ethics charges by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.
Two other lawyers said they witnessed Wilson’s touching. One of them said she told Wilson his behavior was inappropriate and he should stop. The judge then moved his hand away, according to the allegations.
But Wilson allegedly put his hand back on the attorney’s leg, moved it under her skirt, and touched her buttocks. The lawyer stepped away and left.
The event was called “Join Our District Court Judges for Practice Tips on Tap,” according to Wilson’s Jan. 31 response to the allegations. Wilson had declined an invitation to serve on the event’s judicial panel, but he attended to support his colleagues. Afterward, he and several other attendees were invited to attend a social dinner at a different location in the Maryland Club called the Charles Street Grill.
Before the incident, Wilson’s response said, he and the lawyer had interacted in what he “genuinely perceived as reciprocal flirtation.” During the meal, he and the lawyer “continued flirting with each other which ultimately led to Judge Wilson touching [the lawyer’s] ankle, calf and lower hamstring.”
At no time did Wilson touch the lawyer’s buttocks, his response said. Nor did anyone tell him to stop, although one witness said, “I can see you touching her leg.” And his touching was based on “a genuine belief that their interactions were mutual and welcomed,” the response said.
Wilson cited a conversation in which he complimented the lawyer’s shoes, prompting her to allegedly respond that she liked wearing “sexy heels” when she goes out. He also cites an alleged comment she made after he answered a question at the event about his views on loss of consortium. He said he had only one case involving the issue and he awarded a lot of money. The lawyer then “said under her breath softly, ‘I would get a lot of money if I were in front of you,’ ” the response says.
During the meal, Wilson and the lawyer “continued to exchange flirtatious glances,” according to the response.
Wilson now realizes his perception was incorrect and he “sincerely apologizes and deeply regrets” touching that made the lawyer feel uncomfortable, according to the response. The judge is now meeting with a counselor twice a month “to improve his interpersonal skills, better recognize power dynamics, and avoid similar situations in the future,” the answer says.
Wilson’s lawyers at Silverman Thompson did not immediately respond to an ABA Journal email asking if the judge would like to comment.
Wilson is a single father to two children who are currently in college.