A South Portland lawyer who was suspended for sending sexual texts and videos to a client will regain his ability to practice law in April.

The 20-month suspension imposed on Paul L. Letourneau this month by Associate Justice Jeffrey L. Hjelm of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will expire in April because Letourneau already has served 16 months under an interim suspension issued in July 2016, Hjelm’s ruling states.

Messages left for Letourneau and his lawyer were not returned Tuesday.

Disciplinary matters are typically heard and decided by a single supreme court justice.

According to Hjelm’s ruling, Letourneau was appointed to represent a woman in York County who had been charged with theft and violating the conditions of her release.

Almost immediately, the woman told the Board of Overseers of the Bar, Letourneau began exhibiting “graphically sexualized behavior” toward her, including sending her pictures of his genitals and videos of himself masturbating.

The woman said the behavior was unwelcome and intimidating to her, but she was reluctant to complain because Letourneau was a court-appointed lawyer and she worried it could affect her cases. She also said she told Letourneau that she didn’t want him to send the texts, photos and videos, but he continued to do so.

Finally, even though the woman discharged Letourneau in April 2016, he didn’t withdraw from representing her in an unrelated Cumberland County case until late July.

The formal charges against Letourneau were having a conflict of personal interest, not properly declining or ending his representation of a client and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

After the woman filed a complaint against him, Letourneau was given an interim suspension and another lawyer was appointed to take over his cases.

He initially contested the allegations and a hearing was held in December, but the board and Letourneau reached an agreement on sanctions after that hearing.

Under the terms of Hjelm’s ruling, Letourneau will be allowed to practice law for one year beginning April 1 while his work is monitored by another lawyer. In addition, he is supposed to continue to receive psychological treatment and undergo a psychosexual assessment in a year.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]