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"KSDK 5 On Your Side" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "It happened to my child. It can happen to somebody else's child"

05/18/2018

"KSDK 5 On Your Side" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "It happened to my child. It can happen to somebody else's child"

...The lawyers

“I had to get interviewed a few times by my lawyers, their lawyers. They would say oh, we're gonna have a court date soon and the other side would push it back because they were getting new lawyers,” Bleker said.

The school district hired new lawyers in 2014, after investigative reports by WWL-TV and the New Orleans Advocate revealed the board’s attorney, Harry Pastuszek, was both working as an Assistant District Attorney and getting paid hourly through his private law firm to defend St Tammany schools in civil lawsuits, such as the Bleker case.

“Is the prosecutor going to investigate the school board if they find evidence in the criminal case was covered up,” asked Pace University Law Professor Bennett Gershman when the story first broke in 2014.

After the St Tammany Parish DA’s office convicted Schwertz of the aggravated rape of Justin Bleker and molesting another boy, Pastuszek secured an affidavit from Schwertz saying he didn’t rape anyone, then raised questions in court filings about whether the boy was actually raped.

“How can he work for the St Tammany Parish district attorney's office, who prosecuted and put Dino Schwertz away and yet now, be representing the school board? How can he be on both sides,” Hickman asked.

Pastuszek was getting a state salary, District Attorneys’ retirement benefits, extra retirement benefits former DA Walter Reed secured for a few chosen employees, all the while billing the school board hourly for the work he and his private law firm were doing for them.

Read the full article.