Traverse City Record-Eagle

Election 2012

September 20, 2012

Candidate convicted of indecent exposure to client

KALKASKA — A candidate for Kalkaska County prosecutor was convicted of indecent exposure in Midland County after female clients there said he had sexual contact with them.

Scott A. Isles, 53, filed to run as an independent in November's general election. He'll square off against current chief assistant Kalkaska prosecutor Mike Perreault.

Isles, who has a home in Kalkaska County but regularly practices in Midland County and elsewhere, contends the allegations that led to the 2005 conviction are false. He hasn't tried to hide his background, he said, and believes it shouldn't deter voters.

"You can let these things define you, let them hold you back, or you can get up from them and move forward," he said.

Isles pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure in Midland County in October 2005, a court spokeswoman said. The Isabella County prosecutor's office handled the case after the Midland prosecutor declared a conflict of interest.

Risa Scully, chief assistant prosecutor in Isabella, said the indecent exposure plea was connected to allegations by at least one female client whom Isles represented while he served as a court-appointed attorney for indigent defendants.

Separate reports from the Midland County sheriff's and Midland Police departments detail allegations two female clients made against Isles in early 2005. One woman said she had repeated sexual encounters with Isles, including an incident that occurred as he met with her in the Midland County Jail.

The victim "advised that she thought that Scott would work harder ... to get her off easy on some of these charges if she performed sexual acts for him," a report reads.

The other woman alleged Isles asked her out to dinner, then showed up at her house uninvited and exposed himself to her. He told her he could "make things easier" for her, reports show, and tried to engage her in sexual activity.

"I felt dirty and scared. I felt scared. I couldn't understand why or what to do," the woman told investigators, according to a report. "I almost felt like I should do it because it was going to help me in court, you know?"

Isles told the Record-Eagle the allegations were false, but he defended the right of an attorney to fraternize with clients.

"There is nothing illegal about an attorney and a client having sexual contact, nor is it unethical," he said.

He contends he pleaded no contest to the crime to avoid going to trial on a more serious charge.

"I couldn't take the risk of going to trial and losing," he said. "It's a he-said, she-said thing."

The State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board suspended Isles' law license for 60 days because of the indecent exposure conviction. State bar records show Isles is now active and in good standing.

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