A Ventura lawyer already facing drug charges may be in more trouble for asking female job applicants to sign a contract allowing him to engage in "sexual acts, touching, lewd behavior, etc."
Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury confirmed Thursday that he will ask the State Bar to investigate the contract that attorney Douglas Andrew Palaschak admits he wrote.
Although officials have not talked with anyone who signed the contract, Bradbury said, "We have received numerous complaints and information from young women concerning Mr. Palaschak's inappropriate behavior in this regard."
He said Palaschak, 42, frequently runs help-wanted ads in local newspapers "as a means of meeting young women . . . to initiate a sexual or romantic relationship."
State Bar officials have declined comment on the case.
Palaschak said he came up with the contract to protect himself against sexual blackmail.
"It's part of the men's movement," he said. "Men are vulnerable. The sex laws are biased against men. To overcome the bias, you have to do something like this."
Palaschak, who claims to have hired at least 50 secretaries in the past year, said only one of them signed the contract, but quit this week after working only one day.
"Most of the girls who worked for me were not exploited," he said.
In one copy of the contract obtained by The Times, Palaschak acknowledged to a prospective employee that she had been chosen "primarily on the basis of sexual appeal." The agreement describes Palaschak as a mentor and the prospective female employee as his protegee.
"Mentor and protegee hereby mutually consent to all words, acts, sexual innuendo, sexual acts, touching, lewd behavior, etc.," the contract says. "This clause does not anticipate any sexual activity but is designed to protect primarily the mentor against sexual blackmail."
The end of the contract lists "the non-work things Palaschak would like protegee to do. None of them are compulsory.
"Sex and romance would be nice. . . . If not you, then help me find somebody else. . . ." Palaschak, who attended the Ventura College of Law, said he sees nothing wrong with trying to find a new girlfriend through his work.
"I just happen to be in a position to choose who gets in," he said.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim George Gibbons, who is prosecuting Palaschak on drug charges, said he does not believe that the contract violates any laws. But he said he doubted that it would protect Palaschak if an employee filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment.
"It might have a chilling effect on a young girl working for the first time in a law office," he said.
"The district attorney feels it is important to protect the public from this sort of behavior," Gibbons said.
Palaschak is charged with possession of LSD, conspiracy to possess LSD and furnishing LSD to a minor. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 6. He is not being held.