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Exactly one month after he was arrested for allegedly beating his wife so badly she went to a hospital emergency room, former BellSouth General Counsel Charles R. Morgan signed a full-page newspaper advertisement proclaiming he and other men “will not tolerate domestic violence.” The advertisement adds to the seeming contradictions in the highly paid GC’s life. If pro bono work in the corporate legal community had a face, it was that of Morgan. At Morgan’s behest, BellSouth Corp. demanded that the law firms it hired demonstrate a commitment to diversity. And Morgan spearheaded a statewide task force that came up with a plan to reform the state’s ailing public defender system. But Morgan’s tenure at BellSouth ended abruptly July 12, when the company announced that he had resigned for personal reasons. The alleged incident with his wife “had some bearing” on the resignation, said Morgan’s lawyer, Matthew H. Patton of Kilpatrick Stockton. Morgan could not be reached for comment. He is also represented by Randall M. Kessler of Kessler & Schwarz, who had no comment. BellSouth said Marc Gary, vice president and associate general counsel, and J. Alberto Gonzalez-Pita, vice president of international legal, regulatory and external affairs, will take over Morgan’s responsibilities until a replacement is named. Morgan is scheduled to appear in Fulton Magistrate Court on July 30 for a pretrial hearing on one charge of misdemeanor battery and two charges of misdemeanor cruelty to children. The latter charges stem from a police allegation that Morgan battered his wife in front of their children, ages 9 and 11. According to an Atlanta Police Department report, Barbara Morgan, 51, said that her husband attacked her around 1 a.m. on May 27. She was treated early that morning at Piedmont Hospital for bruised ribs and “numerous abrasions and bruises about the body,” according to the police report. Charles Morgan, 57, was released on signature bond and ordered to enroll in a 24-week domestic violence intervention program, according to court records. Barbara Morgan filed for a protective order on May 27 but dropped the complaint on July 8, according to court records. In an e-mail to the Fulton County Daily Report, Barbara Morgan said: “I regret that this unfortunate incident has become public. My husband and I are both dedicated to resolving these personal issues. We are both committed to our family. I hope that you will respect my family’s need for privacy at this time.” Her attorney, Nancy F. Lawler, of Lawler, Tanner, Zitron & Pachman, was out of town and not available for comment. A HIGH PROFILE IN THE LEGAL SCENE Charles Morgan has earned a high profile in the Atlanta legal community for his efforts to increase law-firm diversity nationwide and reform indigent defense in Georgia. Several years ago, he drafted a statement encouraging corporate legal departments to consider law firms’ diversity when choosing outside counsel. Legal departments of hundreds of companies, including Bank of America Corp., Delta Air Lines, Kellogg Co., Eastman Kodak Co., United Airlines and the U.S. Postal Service, have signed on to the statement. Morgan received an award for his diversity initiative from the American Bar Association in 2000. Then-Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Benham chose Morgan in 2000 to chair a task force charged with studying the state’s indigent defense system. The task force’s recommendations led to the establishment and funding of a statewide public defender system in the 2003 and 2004 legislative sessions. Morgan earned $1.2 million in salary and bonus in 2003, according to BellSouth’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company would not comment on Morgan’s severance package. He does not have a consulting agreement with the company, a spokesman said. Morgan’s father and grandfather were engineers at BellSouth, and he joined the company in 1998. A graduate of Columbia Law School, he also has served as GC at Chiquita Brands International. He was senior counsel at Kraft Foods and was a partner at Chicago’s Mayer, Brown & Platt. BELLSOUTH’S STANCE ON VIOLENCE BellSouth had no comment on Morgan’s arrest or its policies involving employees accused of domestic violence. However, the company does have programs to help employees who are victims of domestic violence, according to a therapist who used to work for the company. Elaine Rubin, who directed the employee assistance program at BellSouth until 2000 and is now a therapist in private practice, said she spearheaded an effort to raise awareness of domestic violence while at BellSouth. She put together a protocol for the human resources department, she said, which taught how to spot employees who might be victims of domestic violence and how to handle it. During Rubin’s tenure, the company had support groups for employees who had been battered, she said. Men Stopping Violence, a nonprofit organization working to end men’s violence against women, has run training classes on workplace violence for BellSouth, said Sulaiman Nuriddin, a trainer at the organization. BellSouth has publicly supported an organization that fights domestic violence. The company recently served as one of the primary sponsors for a fundraiser for the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, in Decatur. The organization ran a full-page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 27 that listed Morgan as one of a group of men who “proudly state that they will not tolerate domestic violence.” Morgan was listed as a title-holder in the ad, which means he donated $200 to the organization, said its executive director, Jean Douglas. BellSouth donated $25,000 for the ad, Douglas said. BellSouth’s chief diversity officer, Valencia I. Adams, is on the center’s board of directors, Douglas added. Domestic violence is a pervasive issue, said Daniel A. Bloom, deputy director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and a part-time judge in Fulton County Family Court. “People’s perception is that [domestic violence] happens more often in low-income and less educated families, and that simply is not the case,” said Bloom. The AVLF provides pro bono legal services to victims in domestic violence cases. Domestic violence is less likely to be reported among the upper classes, he said. “The shame of reporting it when it’s in a family where people don’t think it happens is that much greater. Those victims have that much more to lose,” he said.

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