Southeastern Legal Foundation Director Charged With Indecency

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - The director of a prominent legal foundation whose high-profile cases include a lawsuit to have President Clinton disbarred was charged with public indecency by prosecutors in Atlanta on Tuesday.

An undercover federal officer of the National Park Service said he saw Matthew J. Glavin fondling himself on May 17 at the edge of a parking lot in the Chattahoochee National River Park in Atlanta.

The officer filed a brief report, alleging that Glavin was fondling himself under his clothes, and that when the officer approached Glavin and engaged him in conversation, Glavin reached for him in a lewd way.

Glavin, 47, president and chief executive of the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, denied the charges.

He appeared in U.S. District Court in connection with the case on Tuesday but did not enter a plea because his hearing was rescheduled.

"Matt repeats his adamant denial of this allegation against him," a spokesman for the foundation told Wednesday.

Legal observers familiar with Glavin and his work reacted with shock and disbelief at the news. Some questioned the lapse between the time the incident was alleged to have occurred and when the charges were brought against him four-and-a-half months later.

For information on the case, the National Park Service referred to the Atlanta attorney general's office, which did not return phone calls.

Glavin, who has headed the SLF since 1994, has fought to abolish Atlanta's controversial affirmative action program and sued to have Clinton disbarred for lying under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

The foundation has been involved in extremely high-profile litigation, not only with the Clinton administration, but also with the mayor of Atlanta on the affirmative action issue. There's an on-going investigation into the mayor.

Mayor Bill Campbell called Glavin and his associates "KKK" for their opposition to affirmative action in July 1999. Campbell sent picketers to the foundation's offices, where they yelled at Glavin through bullhorns. The mayor also boycotted businesses that support Glavin.

Glavin eventually had to hire armed security guards to travel with him and to protect his home and workplace after attempts were made to drive him off the road.

The legal foundation also found itself on the receiving end of lawsuits.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney filed a complaint with the postal inspector that one of the foundation's pieces of direct mail looked similar to the Census 2000 mailings, which was not proved. The foundation also was cleared of charges that it violated fundraising regulations.

Editorial Assistant Jason Pierce contributed to this report.