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Law license of former Marshall County prosecutor suspended

Last week the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board ruled the license of Benjamin J. Stansberry, 42, be suspended indefinitely, for at least one year, citing violations of ethical rules.

Stansberry pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and trespassing charges in September 2016, following his arrest one month earlier. However, the board said Stansberry denied the victim’s allegations when questioned by police.

Stansberry’s arrest came after the co-worker reported to Marshall County Attorney Jennifer Miller and local police finding a pair of her underwear in her driveway just after Stansberry had been alone in the woman’s house, according to the Des Moines Register.

Authorities determined he entered her bedroom without permission to take them.

“I want to emphasize the victim and Stansberry were co-workers,” Marshalltown Chief of Police Mike Tupper told the Times-Republican shortly after the 2016 incident. “However, that is the extent of their relationship. The victim had no other connection to Stansberry.”

Stansberry paid more than $200 in fines and court costs.

He also resigned from his job in the Marshall County Attorney’s Office and his position as

a member of the Marshalltown Community School District board.

A no-contact order is in place between Stansberry and the victim until Sept. 9, 2021.

The court cited a second incident where Stansberry admitted taking a photo of a colleague’s underwear visible from her gym bag.

When asked why he took the photos, Stansberry told the board: “It was dangerous and I suppose it was an adrenaline rush.”

Stansberry also failed to properly take notes on his cases and save communications with defense attorneys using the office’s software database, the board said.

This cost the attorney’s office unnecessary time and effort after he resigned as others tried to assess the nearly 150 cases in which Stansberry was counsel of record.

“This resulted in dismissed charges because of missed deadlines, upset victims and significant additional work for the county attorney’s office and the district court clerk’s office,” the board wrote.

The board took into account Stansberry’s lies to law enforcement and the board during its investigation, as well as the victims’ wellbeing, when handing down its punishment.

Stansberry’s license can be reinstated as early as Jan. 25, 2020 if he can provide proof from a health care professional about his “fitness to practice law.”

He has been licensed to practice law since 2004. A call to Stansberry seeking comment was not returned by time of press.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com

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