One evening in the summer of last year, "Simone" was washing the dishes in her Memorial-area condo. When she glanced up, she was presented with a shocking sight: a man, one she'd often seen walking past her unit on his way to the pool, was standing on the other side of her window, not three feet away. Even worse, according to a police report, the man (later identified as 59-year-old local attorney Craig Seldin) had opened his pants open and was masturbating.
Simone ran upstairs and told her husband what had just happened. The husband looked down from his second-story window, and evidently Seldin was very much in the moment, because he had failed to notice that Simone had fled and was still fapping away.
Simone and the man then bustled outside to confront Seldin. "Why were you masturbating outside my house, in front of my wife?" the husband asked. Seldin said it was all a big misunderstanding and that he would never walk by their condo again. The husband demanded that Seldin give up his name and address but Seldin ran away.
According to the report compiled by HPD's officer R. Wieners (yep, Wieners), Simone and her husband then wrote up what had happened and posted a notice in the mail room of the condo complex. Another resident responded and told them that she thought Seldin, whom she knew to be an attorney, might be the culprit.
Simone and her husband looked Seldin up on the Internet, found his page on the State Bar of Texas's web site, saw his picture, and took all that info to the cops with their complaint. They later picked Seldin out of a line-up and he was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. Seldin acquired top-shelf defense attorney Stanley Schneider to represent him.
On January 21, Seldin was sentenced to two years' deferred adjudication and fined $1,000. He was also ordered to attend a sex offender treatment program.
Apparently, Seldin was something less than a star pupil in those classes, because he was at it again by May 17, and this time, the evidence against him would be even more compelling than the testimony of two eyewitnesses. "Julia" is a temp. In late April, she was assigned to be Seldin's secretary at his practice in the high-rise Schlumberger SIS building on San Felipe at St. James. She would leave that gig with quite a tale for police.
According to another police report, she said that after a couple of weeks on the job, she noticed something odd: Seldin had started leaving the door to his office ajar. She started to have this weird sense that she was being watched.
Turns out she was right. On May 16, she would later tell police, she abruptly got up from her desk to take her boss a message. Once again, Seldin appears to have been lost in the moment, because when she came in the office, he was still stroking intently away.
You might have had this experience before: Julia refused to believe what she had just seen and went back to work, shaken but not yet at the breaking point. But she must have known deep down she had seen something, because the next day, she propped her cellphone up in her in/out tray and angled its camera lens towards Seldin's door. At about 3 p.m., the mouse was inching towards the cheese in the trap. She reported that out of the corner of her eye, she could see Seldin standing on the other side of his half-open door. And he wasn't just standing there, of course. As the report puts it, when Simone glanced towards the door to get a better look, she saw, as the official report puts it, that Seldin's "pants were unzipped, his male sex organ was exposed, and he was intentionally gratifying himself by masturbating and was reckless about whether the complainant would be offended or alarmed."
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SHOW ME HOW
Seldin might have suspected he had been spotted, because he retreated back in to his office for a moment, which gave Julia time to hit the record button on her cellphone. But within minutes, he had apparently thrown caution to the wind and was back in the doorway, whacking away. At first Julia got only waist-down footage. During another recess in the proceedings, Julia moved the phone to a different tray on her desk, and caught Seldin a second time from a new angle: this time from the waist up, with his hand moving in a tell-tale manner. Score one for oppressed temps everywhere!
She didn't show up for work the next day. A couple of weeks later, she went to police, who hauled in Seldin again. This time around, Seldin hired Dick DeGuerin and DeGuerin protege Sean Buckley.
On October 27, he was sentenced to 70 days in Harris County Jail for violating the terms of his probation on the first charge, and his probation has been extended by three months.
Seldin has been practicing since 1978 and is a graduate Cal-Berkeley and UT Law. While his sexual proclivities may be beyond the pale, the general practice attorney does have a clean record with the State Bar of Texas and is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.