Aretakis Sanctioned in Abuse Case
Supreme Court Justice Says Attorney Violated Rule on Publicity
By Marc Parry
Albany Times Union [New York]
November 7, 2006
An attorney known for battling the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has been sanctioned for improper pretrial publicity in a New York City sex abuse case.
A state Supreme Court justice found that John Aretakis violated a rule governing trial publicity by lawyers by providing deposition transcripts to the press.
Justice Debra James ordered Aretakis to refrain from "any further violations." She ordered him to pay all legal costs connected to the matter. And she summoned him to court for a Nov. 15 hearing "on the amount of such costs and any sanctions to be paid" by Aretakis.
The case involves a teenager's claims against her grandmother, Leila Hadley Luce, and her deceased step-grandfather, magazine publishing scion Henry Luce III.
The alleged victim claims sexual abuse "by the grandmother," Aretakis said, "and to some extent the step-grandfather has aided and abetted her."
Aretakis said in an interview Monday that his client, not he, e-mailed deposition transcripts to "various media outlets."
"This court finds incredible Mr. Aretakis' assertion that his clients and not he provided the depositions to the press," Justice James wrote in a decision dated Oct. 20, "as in at least one instance, the New York Post quotes his commentary on evidence introduced at the deposition."
The court had earlier ordered Aretakis to try to retrieve materials from the media outlets in a bid to "discourage republication." Justice James ordered Aretakis to submit by Wednesday a sworn statement regarding what he did to reclaim those transcripts.
"The judge has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 15 to find out how certain documents got out, and I'm quite confident that I will be vindicated," Aretakis said.
Aretakis said he never violated any court order and "will continue to follow all court orders."
Aretakis has taken on the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese and Bishop Howard Hubbard as the attorney for dozens of local victims of clergy sex abuse.
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