A convicted US paedophile has sued American Express for revealing his whereabouts. Otherwise he wouldn't have been arrested in Canada back in 2006, he believes.
James Colliton, once a $500,000-a-year tax lawyer at Manhattan, contends the credit card company breached its rules by telling authorities that he had used the card in February 2006 to pay for gas in Ontario.
"Is that why you pay fees to American Express - so they can spy on you?" Colliton demanded to know. "They're willing to sell you out."
In his suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, he says Canadian authorities would never have "falsely arrested" or "unlawfully detained" him on immigration charges if American Express hadn't revealed when and where he had used his credit card.
"That's not why I gave them 20 years of fees and thousands of dollars in profits," he said. "They spied on me."
"You're not a fugitive if you sign into a major chain hotel using your driver's license and your American Express card," Colliton argued, while suing the credit card firm for $ 4 million.
At the time of his arrest, the 44-year-old Colliton was wanted in New York on charges that he had paid a woman so he could have sex with her 13- and 15-year-old daughters.
He insisted he wasn't running from the law and had gone to Canada only to attend some harness races.
Harness racing is a form of horse-racing in which the horses race in a specified gait. They usually pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies.
But there are reports that he fled to Canada because he thought Canadian courts and prisons were more lenient than those in the U.S.
Subsequent to his arrest, the so-called Lolita Lawyer, pleaded guilty to rape and patronizing a prostitute.
In summer 2000, Colliton apparently met the first victim, then 15, through her cousin — then a 17-year-old stripper, according to authorities. He began paying the 15-year-old girl for sex, initially giving her alcohol and marijuana, the district attorney's office said.
In late 2004, he met the girl's then 13-year-old sister. The 13-year-old moved into Colliton's Manhattan apartment with her mother's permission, the district attorney's office said. He allegedly paid the younger girl for various sex acts about five times a month.
He was sentenced to three concurrent one-year terms. Later he was disbarred from practicing.
The disgraced lawyer has also sued his former employers, Cravath, Swaine & Moore in federal court, claiming the firm owes him $950,000 in salary, bonuses and vacation pay. The registered sex offender also sued Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and two assistant prosecutors.
"When people stop violating my rights, that's when I will stop filing lawsuits," he declared.
An American Express spokeswoman said the company had not yet received a copy of Colliton's lawsuit.