Bankruptcy Lawyer Disbarred After Sex Crime Cases
Joseph Engl once practiced in Milwaukee, where he was ensnared in a sting.
A former Milwaukee lawyer first arrested in 2004 after he propositioned what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl in an online chat room (but who was actually a Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy) has finally lost his license. Evidence from a second case in which Joseph Engl, currently 37, picked up a 15-year-old girl from her workplace in 2011 and had her perform oral sex on him, suggests that the bankruptcy specialist returned to his old ways of pursuing girls online not long after the probation period for his first case ended in 2008.
Engl pleaded no contest to charges of child enticement and sexual assault in October and was sentenced to three years in prison followed by nine years of probation. Police alleged that the lawyer exchanged emails with the girl he later met up with, and "their communications included discussions about meeting in person for the purpose of having sexual intercourse." According to the Wisconsin State Bar, the lawyer – who had by this time moved his practice to Sheboygan – used a Gmail account for business email. After the two met, Engl refueled at a gas station, a purchase that became key evidence for the prosecution since the girl couldn't definitively identify the man in a photo lineup.
As of Tuesday morning, Engl remained listed on the website of the Wisconsin State Bar as remaining in "good standing," as he's been listed for most of his legal career. The public reprimand handed down by the State Supreme Court and the Office of Lawyer Regulation in 2005 was the mildest possible, according to the Journal Sentinel, which looked into Engl's case as part of a broader story on lawyers with criminal records.
Here's today's opinion from the court revoking Engl's license.