They rode the elevator together: the tall, sharply dressed, middle-age defense lawyer and the trusting girl.
When the elevator reached the third floor of the Criminal Justice Center on Monday, Larry Charles, 49, quietly led his 14-year-old companion to a secluded conference room, police records say. But once inside, Charles wedged a chair against the door.
Then he removed his clothes until he stood naked before the teen, according to the arrest report, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News.
Charles asked the girl, who later identified herself to police as his goddaughter, if she wanted to have sex with him. When she said no, police said, Charles masturbated in front of her.
Although police said Charles did not have physical contact with the teen, the lawyer was charged early yesterday morning with a host of felonies - burglary, false imprisonment, statutory sexual assault, contact with a minor, unlawful restraint, corrupting the morals of a minor, criminal trespass and endangering the welfare of a child.
He was found naked in the conference room about 3:30 p.m. by sheriff's deputies who had grown suspicious of the story he had given them about an hour earlier.
The Criminal Justice Center, on Filbert Street near 13th, was closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, except for protection-from-abuse orders and arraignments.
But cops said that when Charles and the girl arrived at the center about 2:30 p.m., he told security guards that she was there to post bond for someone.
The story didn't sit well with two sheriff's deputies, who searched the basement of the center when they couldn't find him.
They were eventually tipped off that Charles was ensconced in the third-floor conference room. When one of the deputies attempted to open the door to the room, someone pushed back from the other side, according to the arrest report.
One deputy finally charged through the door, and found Charles - and the girl, trembling in a corner of the room, her hands covering her face.
Charles, of 10th Street near Oak Lane in East Oak Lane, was taken to the police Special Victims Unit, where detectives spent most of Monday night sorting through the sordid tale.
Charles was being held at Police Headquarters last night, waiting to be arraigned. Investigators said last night they were examining the possibility that Charles had assaulted other relatives of the girl, whose family could not be reached for comment.
The girl told detectives that Charles is her godfather, but police were unsure of the exact nature of their relationship. "We can only confirm that he is a known individual to the family," said police spokesman Capt. Benjamin Naish.
The serious nature of the charges could put Charles' career in peril.
Paul Kazaras, assistant executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Association, said the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania could wait until the case is resolved before taking action against him.
"But there may be other complaints [against Charles] on record that only the Disciplinary Board may be aware of," Kazaras said. "That could lead them to feel they need to take emergency action to immediately suspend him."
According to the Disciplinary Board's Web site, Charles' license to practice law was suspended in 1991 for 18 months, following a criminal conviction. Details of that conviction were not available last night. His license was reinstated in 1996, and Charles went on to gain fame defending celebrities like rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard and former welterweight boxing champ Meldrick Taylor.
In 1990, Charles, then a counselor for the Philadelphia Youth Advocate Program, was fined $1,000 and sentenced to two years' probation for falsifying records to indicate he was taking care of troubled juveniles when he actually wasn't. Four other counselors were fined as well.
And according to court records, Charles was arrested in 1979 on charges of indecent assault, indecent exposure and corrupting the morals of a minor, but the charges were dropped.