Judge honored plea deal but said the defense version of events leading to indecent exposure is "ridiculous." Clark Griffith's take on incident is "ridiculous" and "possibly delusional," judge says.
Clark Griffith, a Minneapolis attorney whose late father, Calvin, owned the Minnesota Twins, was ordered Thursday to undergo sex-offender counseling after exposing himself to a St. Paul law student who considered him a mentor.
The Jan. 24 incident on St. Paul's Victoria Street triggered panicked texts and phone calls from Griffith to the 24-year-old student imploring her to drop her complaints, the charges say.
But on Thursday, Griffith, 70, stood for sentencing before Ramsey County District Judge George Stephenson, listening as prosecutor Steve Christie read a statement from the woman describing his actions as "one of the biggest betrayals of my young life."
Griffith, then an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, positioned himself as a "trusted mentor," but used his influence "only to attempt sexual gains," the student wrote. She had met with him that night after asking him earlier to work with her one-on-one in an independent clinic.
Defense attorney Paul Engh told the judge that Griffith's reputation had been damaged -- that he had been "punished already." He said that Griffith's marriage was under stress and that his relationship with his two daughters -- both about the same age as his accuser -- now was strained.
In his sentencing, Stephenson honored a plea deal calling for no jail time and for the potential dismissal of the case in a year. But he also criticized Griffith for a version of the events that the judge described as "ridiculous" and "possibly delusional."
Quoting extensively from Griffith's statement to the county's probation department, the judge said that Griffith admitted to unzipping his pants and exposing himself while standing with the student near her car. Stephenson said Griffith claimed he did so after the woman turned to him and whispered, "We've got to go slow," an allegation that the student has denied.
Griffith, the judge said, seemed to be portraying himself as a victim of the young woman.
"Are you kidding me?" Stephenson said.
He ordered Griffith to have no contact with the student.
Griffith told the judge that he was "very remorseful" for what happened. He maintained that he had accepted responsibility. He also said that the impact was "devastating" for both the student and himself. He began therapy in February, he said.
The woman, who attended the sentencing but did not speak, wrote in her statement that she had been experiencing "intense nightmares" and that she has anxiety over the possibility that Griffith might be "around the corner" when she is out with friends and family.
But, she concluded: "If everything I have gone through has been to ensure that no other woman is ever victimized by this man, it is worth the damage done to me."
Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041