A former Army officer who served time in prison after repeatedly trying to meet underage girls for sex wants to become a lawyer, a move opposed by the legal profession, according to a case that has reached the state's highest court. The Ohio Supreme Court held a hearing Tuesday on the request by John Tynes, who was convicted in military court of sex-related offenses after his arrest in 1998. Tynes served 19 months of a 30-month military sentence. "He engaged in conduct that demonstrates a disregard for the law and, more importantly, a complete and utter disregard for the health, safety, and welfare of others—namely, vulnerable, female children," the court's Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness says in a February report.
Tynes argues the case is nearly two decades old, he is fully rehabilitated, and he didn't actually engage in sex with a minor. In addition, no mental health-related issues have been identified that would prevent him from practicing law responsibly, the public would not be jeopardized by allowing Tynes to practice, and there is no risk he would repeat the behavior, according to a filing by Tynes' attorney. Tynes, a married father of four, sought out girls during a stressful period in his marriage when he saw the relatively new Internet as a refuge, according to the board. The Cincinnati Bar Association opposes Tynes' request based on the seriousness of the crime and the fact that Tynes delayed seeking counseling after leaving prison. It says Tynes becoming a lawyer would undermine the legal profession.