Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Cleveland Heights Lawyer Caught in Sting Operation Indefinitely Suspended

The Ohio Supreme Court today indefinitely suspended a Cleveland Heights attorney convicted of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Court suspended Michael Cosgrove. He has been under an interim suspension since July 2019 after reaching an agreement to plead guilty to one fourth-degree felony in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Undercover Officer Posed as Teen Online
In November 2018, Cosgrove entered an online chatroom and began a conversation with someone he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. During the conversation, he solicited the person he believed to be a minor to have sex and arranged to meet her.

After the conversation, Cosgrove drove to a park where he planned to meet the girl, and discovered he had been communicating with a law-enforcement officer posing as the 15-year-old. He was arrested and indicted on attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning, and possession of criminal tools.

The trial court designated Cosgrove as a Tier II sex offender and sentenced him to two years of community control, which required him to complete sex-offender counseling and serve a portion of his sentence in the NorthWest Community Corrections Center.

Based on his conviction, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed a complaint against Cosgrove with the Board of Professional Conduct. The parties stipulated and the board agreed that Cosgrove’s actions violated the rules against committing an illegal act that adversely reflects on Cosgrove’s honesty and trustworthiness and his fitness to practice law.

Supreme Court Considers Sanction
When considering the sanction in a disciplinary case, the Court considers aggravating circumstances that could increase the penalty and mitigating factors that could lead to a lesser sanction.

The board found Cosgrove acted with a dishonest and selfish motive, but also noted he did not have a history of disciplinary violations, cooperated with the disciplinary proceedings, participated in rehabilitation activities, and established the existence of a qualifying mental disorder. The opinion noted that he completed his community-based-correctional-facility program and entered into a three-year contract with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program.

The Court stated that for Cosgrove to seek reinstatement he must comply with all terms of his court-ordered community control. The Court also ordered Cosgrove to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.

2021-0208. Disciplinary Counsel v. Cosgrove, Slip Opinion No. 2021-Ohio-2188.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.

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