‘Close your legs?’: Judge may be suspended over questions he asked an alleged rape victim

From The Washington Post authored by Michael Brice-Saddler:

“A New Jersey Superior Court judge could be suspended for three months without pay after asking an alleged sexual assault victim if she tried closing her legs to prevent the attack, according to a court advisory panel.

The panel this week released a 45-page recommendation in the case of John Russo Jr., a family court judge in Ocean County, N.J. Their investigation, which included interviews with Russo and nearly two dozen other individuals, determined that the judge may have violated the Code of Judicial Conduct numerous times in recent years.

The example cited came during his questioning of a woman seeking a restraining order against the father of her 5-year-old daughter in 2016. She told the judge the man had sexually assaulted her.

According to a transcript from the panel’s recommendation, Russo asked the woman, who also claimed the defendant had threatened her life, “do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?”

She responded by stating she could try to physically harm her assailant in addition to saying “no” and attempting to flee.

But the judge continued his questioning: “Run away, get away. Anything else?”

She responded: “I — that’s all I know.”

Russo: “Block your body parts?”

Plaintiff: “Yeah.”

Russo: ‘Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?’”

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