Ex SMU Law School Dean Busted In Prostitution Sting

John Attanasio, professor and former dean of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, was arrested on prostitution charges on Sunday morning, according to arrest records from Collin County, Texas.

Attanasio was arrested after answering an online ad on the classifieds site, Backpage.com and consented to pay $100 for an undisclosed sex act. The ad placement was set up as part of a sting operation being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety as part of a “multi-agency effort to combat the demand side of commercial sex trafficking.”

After his arrest, Attanasio was processed through the Collin County jail and was required to post a $500 bail to be released. Awkwardly enough, his wife Kathy was the one to bail him out of jail. One can only imagine how tense that car ride home must have been.

He is still facing Class B misdemeanor charges of prostitution, which may come with a jail sentence up to six months and $2000 worth of fines.

An email sent out by SMU’s spokeswoman, Kimberly Cobb, said “ SMU does not comment on matters under active investigation.”

SMU students received an email from Provost Paul Ludden on Monday morning. The email said:

“SMU learned from media reports today of the arrest of Law Professor John Attanasio in Collin County. In accordance with University policy, SMU does not comment on matters under active investigation by area police. Professor Attanasio will not teach his class this week. SMU will gather information and follow University procedure to determine any appropriate action under its police in such matters.

This week’s session of Professor Attanasio’s class is canceled. Students should not come to class.”

Attanasio’s arrest came as a bit of a surprise to students of SMU, both past and present. Former student and Dallas attorney Pete Schulte said, “He is the last person that I would have expected to be caught in a string operation of that sort. The dean that I know – this just doesn’t sound like him.”

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