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Suspension urged for judge who told woman: 'Close your legs'

Posted at 11:03 AM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 11:03:38-04

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — An ethics committee has recommended a three-month, unpaid suspension for a New Jersey judge who told a woman she could "close your legs" to prevent a sexual assault.

The committee released its recommendation Wednesday in the case of Superior Court Judge John Russo.

The woman appeared before Russo in 2016 seeking a restraining order against a man she said sexually assaulted her. Russo responded with the comment about closing her legs.

In court filings and at a hearing, Russo has disputed that he violated judicial rules, saying he was seeking more information and wasn't trying to humiliate the woman.

The committee also concluded Russo violated ethics guidelines on several other occasions.

Russo has been on administrative leave since 2017. A final hearing will be held in July.