Accuser Tells Of Spankings By Maryland Lawyer/
Woman Was Young And 'Needed a Job'
By Fern Shen, Staff Writer Washington Post, August 19, 1992
SALISBURY, Md., Aug. 18--An Easton woman who says lawyer George J. Goldsborough Jr. spanked her, repeatedly, sometimes on her bare bottom, described the silver-haired lawyer today as a kind of father figure at the time, and herself as his confused secretary, terrified of losing her job.
"If I continue to make stupid, no-brainer mistakes . . . I will have to be turned over Mr. Goldsborough's knee and spanked," Sandi Schisler said, reading on the witness stand today from a statement she said Goldsborough made her write after she made errors on the job. The statement included a promise that "I will not be wearing my jumpsuit" when Goldsborough spanked her.
Schisler's testimony came before a Wicomico County Circuit Court judge who is hearing unprecedented disciplinary charges against Goldsborough, a prominent Easton lawyer, based on allegations that he spanked Schisler repeatedly, spanked a woman client twice and kissed another woman client. The civil charges against Goldsborough represent teh first time a Maryland lawyer has faced possible disbarment for alleged sexual harassment of women.
Goldsborough, 67, denies the charges, acknowledging only a single spanking of Schisler, which he said yesterday she requested and consented to.
Since the Attorney Grievance Commission filed its disciplinary petition in June, other women have come forward with similar allegations, according to sources close to the case. But Circuit Judge D. William Simpson barred John C. Broderick, assistant bar counsel, from making additional charges beyond those made by the three women in the petition.
William G. Duvall, Goldsborough's attorney, told the judge that lawyers for the grievance commission have "the burden of proving that those allegations are true and that they constitute misconduct" under Maryland's disciplinary rules for lawyers. Goldsborough's lawyers have said the alleged spankings "do not have anything to do with" the practice of law and do not constitute a violation of the professional rules.
Addressing a hushed courtroom today, Schisler tried to explain how she could submit to repeated spankings from Goldsborough.
"I was young and wanted to do well. I needed a job I could go to after school. If I wanted to be a secretary I thought that's what I have to do," said Schisler, who was 17 when the spankings allegedly took place in 1986 and 1987. She said she didn't complain because, "I didn't know what to do . . . someone might think I was stupid or I provoked it."
Schisler described her first one-on-one meeting with Goldsborough in his office on a Saturday, when no one else was there and he was considering whether to hire her.
"He asked me, if I want to be a secretary and be a good one, he was willing to teach me," she recalled. The lessons began that day, she said. At his request, "I laid across his knee and he spanked me across the bottom," Schisler said.
The spankings took place "once a week, sometimes more, sometimes it might not be for a couple of weeks," she said; it depended on "the amount of mistakes I would make in my dictation and other work." She said he made her his exclusive secretary for private, closed-door dictation sessions, even though she made many mistakes and was only a high-school work-study student, with two years of dictation training.
She said she obtained therapy at the advice of Goldsborough's wife, Julie, who came to her in 1987 and confronted her with the spanking allegations. "We talked and cried and we decided I would leave," said Schisler, who recalled that Julie Goldsborough told her she'd learned of the situation from an anonymous caller.
When Goldsborough took the stand, he said Schisler had requested the one spanking he administered.
"I had begun to despair of her attentiveness, her ability to handle the job," he recalled. "I said, 'How do I get your attention?' and she said either her grandfather or her father . . . would take her across his knee.
"I was frustrated enough to take her up on that suggestion, to my regret."
The two other women named in the complaint also testified. Catharine Sweitzer, who had retained Goldsborough to help her with a personal injury claim, described how she felt when he pulled her over his knee in 1980 as he sat on her living room couch. "It was very ugly, very distasteful. I was very uncomfortable," she said.
Peggy Porter pointed to the places on her face where she said Goldsborough kissed her in 1984 in his office, as she cried over her divorce. Duvall had questioned her about her apparently conflicting statements about the number of kisses. "It was whatever it takes to get from here to here," she said, pointing to her neck and the top of her eye.
Goldsborough denied spanking Sweitzer. Asked whether he kissed Porter, he said, "If she said I consoled her in some manner, I'm certain I did."