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Receptionist filing civil complaint against prominent lawyer

Christina Petticrew filing complaint against Charles Sullivan Sr.

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VERO BEACH, Fla. —The Treasure Coast receptionist who accused a prominent Vero Beach attorney of sexual harassment, only to get the criminal case thrown out, is now filing a civil complaint.

Christina Petticrew is sharing her story only to WPBF 25 News even though she admits it's not easy. "I just want him to be held accountable for what he did to me and my family," said Petticrew. Petticrew told Vero Beach police in June that Charles Sullivan Sr. made sexual advances and touched her inappropriately while she worked as a receptionist at his son's law firm.

"I never thought going to this job this would happen to me, but it did and that's why I'm here," said Petticrew. An investigation was launched and she was given a wire to wear to record their conversations. Sullivan's attorney, Andrew Metcalf, said the conversations on the tapes were taken out of context. "The state attorney heard the whole entire conversation. We heard the whole conversation, but the bottom line is at some point Mr. Sullivan started telling her anything he would to end the conversation, and Ms. Pettcrew kept picking until she got him to say what she thought was enough and what law enforcement thought was enough," Metcalf said. Gov. Rick Scott turned the case over to the Brevard County State Attorney's office to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Prosecutors conducted an investigation and decided not to file charges and dismissed the case.

Petticrew's attorney, Jerome Stone, said he doesn't understand why the charges were dropped. "One of the things we are doing is seeking justice for her and her family because she suffered, her husband has suffered and their relationship has suffered because of this," Stone said. Linda Capobianco, who is also representing Petticrew, said her client was shocked. "She didn't know what to do. She didn't know how to respond or how to react," Capobianco said. Robert Stone, who is also representing Sullivan Sr., said there is a fatal flaw in the case.

"He didn't do anything wrong, he didn't force himself on her, he might have done some things people don't like or approve of, but the things he did were all consensual," said Robert Stone. Petticrew said she didn't deserve what happened to her. "He devastated my life," said Petticrew.

Article taken from the University of Michigan law website

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On September 5, 2003, a 15-year-old girl called police to report that she had been raped by two other teenagers beside a swimming pool at an apartment complex in Stuart, Florida.

She identified her attackers as 18-year-old Martin Lyke and 16-year-old Kenneth Atkins. She said that she was on a lounge chair near the pool and that Lyke forced her to engage in oral sex while Atkins straddled the chair and raped her. A condom was found nearby that had traces of the DNA of the victim and of Atkins.

Three weeks later, Lyke and Atkins were charged with sexual battery by multiple perpetrators. Atkins was charged as an adult.

Lyke pled no contest and was sentenced to six years in prison. Atkins went on trial in Martin County Circuit Court in July 2004.

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Nedd v. Gary, 35 So. 3d 1028 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010)

Jillian and Kelvin Nedd settled a lawsuit with Willie Gary. As part of the settlement, Gary filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of his action against the Nedds. The Nedds filed a motion to enforce their settlement with Gary, contending that the dismissal should have been with prejudice. Gary opposed the motion. Without specifying the basis for his request, Gary sought an award of attorney's fees for having to defend against the motion.

At a hearing on the Nedds' motion, the circuit judge denied it. Gary brought up his request for attorney's fees. The court found that Gary was entitled to reasonable fees, observing that the Nedds' "motion did not have a great degree of success." At a later hearing to set the amount of fees, the Nedds challenged the court to identify the authority under which it was awarding them. The judge stated that the award was not imposed as a sanction, but he declined to state the basis for his ruling. In a written final judgment that was silent as to the grounds for the award, the court awarded Gary $1,440 in fees.

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