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How does a lawyer as bad as Aaron P Hartley still get to practice law in Kettering?

This story started with a tip- “I’m a reader and subscriber of your blogs. I find your journalism to be impeccable” and he proceeded to ask why this story of a lawyer run amuck hasn’t hit the news.

I started contacting my sources in the legal community. It became clear that more than a few were aware of what’s been going on. But, despite the Bar Association [1] and the Ohio Supreme Court supposedly being in charge of regulating lawyers, this one some how seems to be slipping through the cracks.

This isn’t the kind of story I usually write. But, when you realize that we’ll hang any local Black man up as Dayton’s most wanted for stealing food for his family- and members of the legal profession can get away with a series of crimes, ethics violations and downright debauchery- made me ill enough to stand up and do what no one else is willing to do: show that Kettering Attorney Aaron P Hartley should be disbarred sooner than later- for the public’s safety. Now, of course, this is America, where you are innocent until proven guilty- except in the media, if they choose to cover it.

The only question is where to start. May as well start with where he was just found guilty.

Attorney Aaron P Hartley, guilty of assault

Aaron P Hartley, Kettering Attorney, guilty of assault.

Last Thursday, Aaron P Hartley, attorney at law, was found guilty of assault in the Kettering Municipal Court. Sentencing will be on Aug 11, 2021, but, wait, there’s more- he’s due in court again in Kettering on November 3rd 2021 for a domestic violence case- where he assaulted his wife on 15 August 2020- less than a year after he married her.

Only problem with that marriage? Well, he met her as a client, started sleeping with her while the case was progressing, and then, was in a mad rush to marry her- probably to try to clean out her bank accounts which he’d learned about as the case progressed.

Oh, and, somewhere in between all this- he also managed to coerce a young lawyer to work for him- and include sex as part of her job duties. That case was filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas court back on April 9th of 2021. It’s set to go to trial April 7, 2022, which may provide the Supreme Court of Ohio an excuse for not disbarring him sooner… because all the cases haven’t been exhausted yet.

Or- because, apparently if you are a lawyer in Kettering, and “friends with a bunch of judges” as he likes to tell people over and over, you just don’t have to worry about getting called out for your criminal behavior. And, let’s be clear, one of the reasons we have a “Culture of Corruption” in Dayton comes down to the fact that we have criminals like Mat Heck in office.

Mat Heck can’t prosecute anyone who has helped his ascension to office- because, most of them hate his guts, but fear his retribution.

Judges won’t rock the boat either- because, the deal in Montgomery County is that once you’ve been elected, you can’t be challenged in a judicial race. Even those like Dick Skelton who rocked the boat by running against the legal professions most mocked Judge, Francis McGee Cromartie, quickly toe the establishment line once they get into their judgeship for life [2].

Yes, this is personal, Tony Schoen prosecuted my former officer manager Jenifer Selhorst for 4 M3 felonies for stealing $3K from the veteran [3] I take care of. With a lot more evidence of her stealing over $35K from me, Mat Heck’s flunkies couldn’t indict her. No day in court. [4] I have a civil judgement for over $70K and now have to fight to collect it.

But, back to Aaron P Hartley, the lawyer who’s been pulling shenanigans for years without censure.

Back as early as 2000- Driving under suspension Financial Responsibility Act: 07/31/2000 Fairborn Municipal Court [5]

This was 8 years before he was admitted to the Ohio BAR- where he has no “discipline history” or “Administrative sanctions and suspensions” [6] yet.

If you are mentally ill, there’s a test they use to decide if a cop can “Pink slip” you- and put you in the hospital for an evaluation for 3 days. “Are you a threat to yourself or others” is the question. Unfortunately, the BAR doesn’t have a rubric for lawyers on a rampage.

Because this pattern of behavior has been going on back to as early as 2013 when Hartley allegedly tried to choke a Wright State student at Adobe Gilas. He’d only been a lawyer 5 years at this point.

Channel 22/45 picked the story up. The Dayton Daily… well…

One of the problems in researching cases like this is that we have cases against Hartley in multiple jurisdictions, with multiple court sites, with differing levels of public access online [7]. If Ohio had a rational, intelligent, efficient single clerk of courts system for all the legal filings like the State of Wisconsin does, maybe it would be easier to track down miscreants like Hartley. And, maybe the BAR wouldn’t be able to escape the incontestable fact that Aaron Hartley is a menace to society and shouldn’t be practicing law ever again.

And while the Courts might not have found him guilty in the Adobe Gila’s case, the mall, The Greene, was smart enough to ban him from the property for 2 years. We can’t easily find out- because Greene County clerk of courts is still paper based- with no online access. Fairborn has some access- and the results- was he pled no contest. Fairborn Municipal Court – Docket entry on criminal case number CRB 1301807 [8]

FINE AMOUNT $ 250.00

PROBATION FEES $225.00

EFF. 1/2014: SUPERVISED COMMUNITY CONTROL $225

UNSUPERVISED COMMUNITY CONTROL $100

(PRIOR TO 1/2014: SUPERVISED $175 UNSUPERVISED $60)

CREDIT/DEBIT CARD FEE $3.00

PAYMENT – RECEIPT NO. 1171245 IN THE AMOUNT OF $ 617.61

STATE VIOL WITNESS/JURY FEES $13.37

PAID TO GREENE COUNTY

PAYMENT – RECEIPT NO. 1171246 IN THE AMOUNT OF $ 13.37

DEF. PLED NO CONTEST, FOUND R, FINE 250.00, SUSP .00

COSTS 100.00, SUSP .00

JAIL 30, SUSP 30

SPECIAL CONDITIONS:

UP TO 2 YRS SUPERVISED COMMUNITY CONTROL, FOLLOW UP TREATMENT, NO CONTACT WITH CW, LETTER OF APOLOGY TO CW

DELIVERED BY PROBATION DEPARTMENT, HONOR NO TRESPASS ORDER OF GREENE

10-21-2014 COMMUNITY CONTROL SUCCESSFULLY TERMINATED.

He gets a DUI in Dayton in 2016.

Dayton Municipal Court 2016-TRC-009496 OVI-UNDER INFLUENCE ALCOHOL DRUG COMBINATION- Guilty. [9]

11/29/2016 8:08AM * Jail Time of 60 Day(s)

11/29/2016 8:08AM * Suspended Jail Time of 60 Day(s)

11/29/2016 8:08AM * Community Control Notified: Non-Reporting Community Control – 9M

11/29/2016 8:08AM * On Condition: PROVIDE PROOF OF COMPLETION OF WIP ON OR BEFORE 2-1-17

11/29/2016 8:08AM * Terminate Administrative License Suspension

11/29/2016 8:08AM * Fine Amount of $375

In 2017- there is a case in Miamisburg Municipal. I can’t get access to the files online.
Case 17TRC01787-A from 5/30/2017 OVI ALCOHOL/LIQUOR M-4
Found guilty- fined $250.

Then comes the case that was sent to me by a reader. I’ve read my share of legal briefs, as have friends, and this one is not like any other.

Susan Deaton, a young lawyer who had graduated from UD law in 2016, had her son in January of 2017, and was admitted to the bar May 7 of 2018, went to apply for a job with the Hartley Law Office on Oct 19 2018.

She may have been impressed by the lies on his website- (as of today) they have 2 lawyers, but claim:

“We are one of the largest law firms in the region, composed entirely of seasoned lawyers who love their work. We know what it takes to build and present a solid and compelling case, and that’s exactly what we do. Vigorously and earnestly, we tackle the most complex challenge and pursue your goals with creativity and determination.

With offices in several major cities across the USA, we offer sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals from coast to coast. Our solicitors are the best in their fields, providing optimal solutions to our clients. “

https://www.hartley-lawoffice.com/aaron-hartley [10]

And trust me, lawyers care a lot about how their website shows up in Google when they have things like the Adobe Gilas story to hide. His Google reviews are questionable as well. If you dig a bit- there’s a lot to worry about.

But, nothing quite like the contents of the filing from this April. By the way, to protect people like the Feldman’s who own Economy Linen, Montgomery County makes sure lawsuits filed on the county website aren’t accessible to Google. [11] You have to know what to look for. And even people who’ve filed cases against Hartley were shocked to see what’s there.

Initial complaint Deaton V Aaron Hartley
[12] From the filing:

  1. On or about October 19, 2018, Plaintiff met Hartley at a restaurant for a job interview with HLO.

  2. During the interview, Hartley asked Plaintiff to come to his home to continue the interview. While at Hartley’s home, Hartley placed his hand inside of Plaintiff’s skirt, shoved her against a wall and tried to kiss her. Plaintiff rebuffed Hartley’s advances and left Hartley’s home. Before leaving Hartley’s home, he told Plaintiff to show up for work the following morning. Plaintiff considered Hartley’s conduct to be unwelcome, unsolicited and sexually inappropriate.

  3. Due to her inability to obtain other legal work, Plaintiff showed up for work at HLO the following morning.

  4. Plaintiff was employed by HLO from October 2018 through April 1, 2019, as an Associate Attorney.

  5. Throughout her employment with HLO, Plaintiff’s supervisor was Hartley.

  6. During Plaintiff’s employment with HLO, she was subjected to unwanted sexual advances and sexually offensive comments and conduct from Hartley. Hartley’s unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature was severe and pervasive.

  7. Hartley told Plaintiff that he asked Adam Bryant, a former client, if Plaintif was “hot” and stated to Plaintiff that he only hired her because she was “hot.”

  8. Plaintiff heard Hartley refer to several women, including former employee Misty as “cunts” and “bitches.”

  9. Hartley stated to Plaintiff and clients on multiple occasions that he wanted to find a woman to take care of his kids, cook, clean, and with whom he could have sex.

  10. Shortly after Plaintiff’s employment with HLO began, Hartley stated to Plaintiff that he would say anything to get women to give him “strange.” He explained to Plaintiff that “strange” was slang for sex.

  11. Hartley had an office at his home which was located inside of his bedroom.

  12. In February 2019, Plaintiff heard Hartley state to Jeni Haber, another employee of HLO, in his bedroom/office at his home that he knew when they met that they were going to have sex.

  13. Hartley frequently told Plaintiff that he loved her and required that she state orally or in a text message to him, “I love you Aaron.”

  14. Hartley frequently told Plaintiff that she could never leave him, he loved her and he needed her. Hartley forced Plaintiff to promise that she would never leave his office.

  15. Hartley represented to Plaintiff that he was friends with many lawyers and judges in the local community, and that they loved him. Plaintiff was afraid to seek other employment and believed that she had to have sexual relations with Hartley in order to keep my job.

  16. Hartley often made comments about showing Plaintiff off to other male attorneys, buying her a big diamond and being a powerhouse attorney couple.

  17. Plaintiff had at least five (5) sexual encounters with Hartley spanning from November 26, 2018 through March 1, 2019. Plaintiff did not want to have sex with Hartley, but believed that she would lose her job if she did not have sex with him. Additionally, Plaintiff was afraid of Hartley due to his size and angry outbursts. The imbalance of power between Plaintiff and Hartley, prevented Plaintiff from refusing to acquiesce to Hartley’s sexual advances.

  18. Shortly after Plaintiff’s first sexual encounter with Hartley, he put his hand up her skirt and touched her vagina through her underwear while Plaintiff was standing on a chair, changing a light bulb at the HLO office. Hartley’s conduct was unwelcome and sexually offensive to Plaintiff.

  19. After Plaintiff’s first sexual encounter with Hartley, he forced Plaintiff to tell him that she had wanted to have sex with him from the first time she met him, and then he made Plaintiff describe to him what she wanted to do to him sexually which was to give him oral sex in his office, under his desk. Hartley led the entire conversation and told Plaintiff what he wanted her to say. During this same encounter, Hartley forced Plaintiff to touch his erect penis through his pants. These events occurred at the HLO office. Hartley’s conduct was unwelcome and sexually offensive to Plaintiff.

  20. On one occasion Plaintiff was working late preparing trial notes at the HLO office. Hartley called Plaintiff and instructed her to come to his house because he needed her to bring a file to him. When Plaintiff arrived at Hartley’s house, he insisted that she stay at his house and finish working there. Once Plaintiff was inside his house, Hartley took Plaintiff’s cell phone from her, forced her into his bedroom/office and insisted that she have sex with him. Due to the imbalance of power, she was afraid not to acquiesce. As Hartley was about to have sex with Plaintiff, he began discussing all of his female clients and employees that he wanted to “fuck in the ass,” and how he wanted to “snort coke off their asses.” Hartley stated to Plaintiff that he wanted their boyfriends to watch him fuck them in the ass, and said “they can love whoever they want, as long as they understand they belong to me.” Plaintiff found these statements to be disturbing and frightening. That night, Hartley tried to have anal sex with Plaintiff despite Plaintiff saying no and verbally protesting multiple times. Hartley then inserted the tip of his penis into Plaintiff’s vagina, from behind, repeatedly, but ultimately he could not perform. As Plaintiff tried to leave his house, Hartley paced in front of the stairs, blocking Plaintiff from leaving for an extended period of time. Plaintiff repeatedly asked Hartley to let her go home but he argued with her and then asked her to marry him. Hartley’s conduct was unwelcome and sexually offensive to Plaintiff.

  21. On one occasion Hartley ejaculated inside of Plaintiff, and then commented that she would be so sexy pregnant with his baby. Hartley’s conduct was unwelcome and sexually offensive to Plaintiff.

  22. There were other sexual encounters, all involving Hartley coercing Plaintiff to drink alcohol, isolating Plaintiff, and forcing Plaintiff to spend the night at his house. Hartley’s conduct was unwelcome and sexually offensive to Plaintiff.

During this time, my girlfriend went to Hartley to get divorced. She gave him a retainer check, but after thinking about the conversation they had where he told her about his “hot girlfriend” and showed her photos of his “amazing new house” she decided to switch lawyers.

But, besides berating Deaton daily, Hartley was soon onto his ultimate scam- a new client came into the office, an Air Force Officer, who had retired, and wanted to divorce her higher ranking husband. Dual income, no kids, he’d found his mark- and, she fit his definition of “Hot rich woman” to take care of his needs.

Now, the number one rule in being a respectable divorce lawyer- is you don’t date, or have sex with your clients. Hartley couldn’t resist his mark. And soon after Deaton quit, he even convinced her to work in his office- for free. She had zero legal training, but could watch his kids, answer phones and file. The summer of 2019, he manages to finalize her divorce, just before she’s about to take an assignment in Europe. He professes his undying love – and insists they marry. Of course, he fails to tell her that she should probably have a pre-nuptial agreement if they get married. Next thing you know, they’ve married, she buys an amazing home with her money- and her VA loan, and he’s got POA to manage things- along with her health care- and he’s trying to get access to her investments.

Statement of facts 20CRB148
[13]

Unfortunately, he’s also incapable of managing himself while she’s in Europe and he’s living in her big house. One night, intoxicated, he calls a woman he’s known from representing her son in a case. He tells her he’s going to harm himself. He comes to her house- drunk, and demands sex. She’s fearful- ends up locking herself in a closet while calling the police. The cops get him home safely- then, once he’s gone, she tells them about the assault. But, this was already January 25th of 2020- this is the case that lead to guilty finding last Thursday.

Statement of facts 20CRB1311-A-C
[14]

Covid hits- and his new bride returns from her post in Germany. Already, there’s tension. Leading up to an assault on 15 Aug 2020 at the amazing house. Married less than a year- and now, he’s assaulting not only her, but on Oct 19, of 2020 he’s “grabbing his 8 year old daughter, by the neck and lifting from a chair” A violation of ORC 2903.13 of the revised code is a misdemeanor of the first degree. [15]

Now, we’ve got a drunk who grabs college students, who gets busted for OVI, who sleeps with his employee, sleeps with a client, marries a client for her money, assaults a woman, not his wife, who won’t sleep with him while he’s drunk, then beats his new wife, then assaults his own children.

Is it time to put Aaron P Hartley in timeout yet? How much more damage will he be allowed to inflict by using his position of authority as a lawyer, to get away with crimes against women?

And, note- they are all women.

Maybe it’s time for Aaron to meet someone who isn’t afraid of him. That person isn’t County Prosecutor Mat Heck. It’s not the State Supreme Court- who has been given plenty of evidence of his insane behavior. Maybe it’s me, by pulling all these public records together and putting a timeline together- and talking to some of his victims, and publishing this story.

Aaron Paul Hartley, the worst divorce lawyer in Dayton. Time to find a new profession.

 

 

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S Buhl

Dave, send this to AboveTheLaw.com and see what happens. You vetted everything as a journalist, but as you well know as a marketer sometimes it is all about the reach.

LRybakina

While you raise a number of legitimate concerns, unfortunately you do not have all the facts. :)

LRybakina

Hi Dave. I understand your points. I also understand your concerns about responsibility for one’s own actions. I do not condone any type of violence, but I have known him for years and he has many good qualities professionally and personally. I’m just saying in some of the cases there are more facts on all sides. :)

Call Saul

I have known about this lawyer and his alleged now guilty of one, criminal escapades for awhile now…since I did research on him for my sons case (Hartley was the petitioners lawyer) and kept saying the same thing ..how is this low life still practicing???

Welp

Aside from being an unethical, wife beating philanderer, he’s a pretty nice guy

Dave C.

Good job on this, Dave.

Jan

Can you tell me how it is ok for to be an activist; up until you get paid? You mentioned in the Sandy’s article, that you were being an activist, until you got paid. By Sandy. Somehow I suspect this comment will not be posted. As none of my comments have been posted. Why? Because it’s humiliating for you. Time to shut it down Dave, time to close it up shop.

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[…] How does a lawyer as bad as Aaron P Hartley still get to practice law in Kettering? posted on August 2, 2021 […]

[…] I published the story about Kettering divorce attorney Aaron Hartley being found guilty of assault, 3 other women have come forward to share their similar stories of abuse. In the meantime, the […]

Yep

Wow. I cant believe I just came across this page. I worked for Aaron. Cant say more but yeah.

Rico Fantastic

Well done. This is a ridiculous abuse of trust, ethos, etc. This, along with the predatory nature and willingness to abuse others, directly of woman but reaching people beyond direct victims. Pathetic, weak pervert.

Susan Deaton

In response to “Yep”…
You can and you should say more. He has relied on our silence for far too long. Do not let this man scare you into hiding. You are not alone.

khughes1963

The Supreme Court of Ohio entered an automatic order of suspension against Hartley yesterday. His behavior is reprehensible and as a lawyer, he has an obligation to set a good example.

Jennifer

Wow!! I thought for a long time wether or not to write something. I’d love to write all of what I think about this report and the person who wrote it but that would make me no better than him. I’ll first start by saying I don’t know al of what Aaron Hartley has done many years ago but who are any of you to hold that against him! Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect! Secondly Aaron Hartley is a pretty great guy! I know this because I dated Aaron Hartley for 6 months and have been his friend for over a year. I have watched this man love his family and treat them very well! I watched this man read Bible stories to his girls and sing church songs in the car on the way to take them to do something fun!! I’ve watched him helped them with their homework and dance silly in the living room to all the crazy movies they wanted to watch. This man is one of the mostly loving men I have ever met! He’s actually an amazing cuddler and very caring! He has given me his credit card and I’d have it for days sometimes without realizing it and he’f never say anything about it! He is not what any of this says! And for the reviews his clients love him! I’ve seen this man answer his phone all hours of the day to help his clients through anything with their case! Yes he is a man of power but he’s deserved that power because he works diligently at his job putting in more hours than I’m sure any of you ever would! How do you judge someone on what others say! Do you know him? Have you spent quality time with him?! I have! And I’m over a year I have seen this man drink once! And guess what he didn’t yell at me or hit me! He took me out to dinner and left the waitress $100 tip! He has never treated me with anything but the upmost respect!… Read more »

Laine Terry

Jennifer you must have dated him while married as many of his clients did/have. Your butt hole must be huge as that’s all he talks about is fucking little 13yr olds and up in every other word he speaks.

Douglas Sharshanberger

jesus christ laine

Laine

Douglas this man said disgusting things about fucking my little girl up the ass.

Jayme Knowles

Horrible guy.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jayme Knowles
LUKE

David,
Thank you for reporting on this issue. I inadvertently came across this article about Aaron Hartley. Coincidence: I met with Aaron a few years ago to help me with an issue. I was blown away by his arrogance and poor treatment of me and the woman who worked for him at the time.
I never told anyone about my experience at his office in Kettering, but I am relieved that you have helped bring to light what he is.
Furthermore please exposing the corruption in Montgomery County courts. The judges and attorney have relationships that basically render trials and reason useless.
I hope that you can look into parenting rights in Montgomery County. There is no equal parenting down there and the children involved are suffering and no one seems to care.

Anonymous

Aaron Hartley was my attorney. He used vulgar language. I would dread going to his office. He never ran on time and was always on the phone with other clients, running up the clock on my time. One time, he even complained to me about a bad review he received from a client. He was a nasty man. Looking back, I am not surprised by any of this. He was scary to be around. It appears the Montgomery Co. Prosecutor, Mat Heck, Dayton Bar, and Ohio Supreme Court protected him, which has become seriously problematic for those of us struggling to acquire new legal counsel, requiring another large retainer. He truly was a menace to the public as they allowed him to continue taking on new clients.

Anonymous

Perhaps truth seekers should watch video of the first trial with his daughter where he was acquitted of 2 charges by his peers, his daughters say they love him, and where one of the charges was likely brought in the wrong court. Where the first couple calls by the other parent was to the GAL and her custody attorney not to any medical professional after alleged incident? Come on man-doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they’re trying to destroy someone that has offended them. -I don’t see any follow-up reporting on that? Or the alleged infedelity on all sides of the subject marriage, how a guy miraculously ends up in Ms Terry’s home? How a practicing attorney is so scared of her own boss that she waits over a year to file a lawsuit and kept working for him? Any lay person can see the politics running through this. Anyone who knows him well knows how much he loves his kids and how much pain he is in not really having seen them in over a year. (Supervised or unsupervised- even convicted felons get supervised time).

Also, one thing I can agree with that has been brought to light here is the lack of support for attorneys mental health by bar associations. Unless you have gone to law school and opened a solo or boutique firm you cannot fully understand what it is like.