Jerene Dildine recently received $1.7 million in damages in her privacy invasion suit against a once lover and lawyer who exposed her private life as a hooker. Suspended lawyer Sean Saxon was found liable for revealing the woman’s secret and hurting her feelings to the point in which she almost took her own life. Dildine began working as a prostitute during her divorce and a when her employer decided to cut back her hours, both which created unbearable financial problems. She needs a quick fix.
Using an alias, Dildine created a profile on an underground website offering sex for $300 per hour. She said of her feelings regarding her decision, “I had a lot of doctors, lawyers, professors, retirees, single people who didn’t have time to date. I liked it. It was very empowering. I had control over my life and I had options.”
Saxon became one of Dildine clients in November 2013, and soon they became romantically involved despite the fact that Saxon was a married man. “He was very charming. He was very curious and asked me a lot of questions,” said Dildine. Once coupled, Saxon decided to tell his girl he really didn’t like her day job, and quickly he became angry and violent with her. Dildine broke off the relationship, but Saxon followed her around and threatened to expose her dirty deeds.
Eventually he followed through on his threats, sending a letter to Dildine’s mother and father, brother and other relatives describing her true, private life, including revealing nude photos of her and online reviews of her services. As a result, Dildine says she became depressed and considered committing suicide. She contacted attorney Tom Overton, who helped her file a complaint against Saxon for exposing her. He decided to file the civil suit on her behalf. Saxon represented himself during the trial and claimed his actions were protected by the First Amendment.
Saxon was let go from the Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell law firm in 2014, where he handled pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, after the firm learned of Dildine’s allegations. He pleaded guilty to violation of a personal protective order filed against him in January 2015 and for continuing to send texts to Dildine, because he still had feelings for the woman. Saxon was sentenced to two years’ probation. The hearing board then imposed a three-year suspension, which Saxon appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. “The evidence is irrefutable,” the board concluded. “Dildine suffered considerable injury—emotional, physical, and reputational—at [Saxon’s] hands.”
Saxon provided the following statement concerning the verdict: “I am deeply sorry I became involved with Jerene Dildine, most of all because I betrayed my family. I profoundly regret much of the language I used in my communications when I exposed Ms. Dildine as a prostitute to people who know her. All the material I sent was true and was taken from Ms. Dildine’s own marketing materials that she placed on the Internet and sent to her clients to promote her business. I am appealing the jury’s decision. I do not believe that Ms. Dildine should be allowed to recover damages because of embarrassment over having her illegal conduct exposed.”
Dildine showed her appreciation. “I just feel like this was the final battle and I won,” she said. “I almost killed myself over being ashamed. I want other people to know you don’t have to die from shame.”