New Jersey Judge Who Asked ‘Physical Abuse Survivor’ To ‘Close Legs’ Is Permanently Removed


Incident


A New Jersey judge who in 2016, suggested that an abuse victim should have tried to stop her attacker by closing her legs was officially removed from the court Tuesday.


The New Jersey Supreme Court consistently ordered in favor of John Russo Jr.’s permanent exclude as a judge in the state. The seven-justice jury determined that Russo, a former Ocean County Superior Court judge, committed repeated and severe acts of offense during his occupation.


The state Supreme Court found that Russo misbehaved during a 2016 court hearing in which a woman asked an extension to the restrictive order against the man who allegedly molested. The woman alleged that the man threatened her life and made remarks about her child.


Women’s Occupation


Defense attorneys had asked the woman about her employment as an exotic dancer and if she ever received unwanted physical approaches at work. After that, Russo questioned the woman about what should be done to prevent the genital assault.


After the woman answered that someone could physically fight their attacker or say no, Russo joked that more measures should be taken.


“Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?” the judge inquired.


Denying Requests


Russo not only denied the woman’s request for a final restrictive order but dropped her temporary restrictive order against her alleged attacker. Russo wrote that the woman wasn’t trustworthy and defended his provocative line of questioning. The state Supreme Court also found that he made incendiary comments about the woman in front of his staff after her statement.


The judge said:


I asked her if she tried to close her legs. And for the record, I believe her statement was they had copulation. And I asked if she tried to use her hands to stop the offender from molesting her Again. I did not get an explanation that I could understand.”


Remove From The Court 


The Supreme Court also ordered three other infractions in explaining their decision to remove Russo from the court. One of the incidents involved Russo threatening a woman with damages during a paternity case after she stated that she was afraid to provide her address because the plaintiff had molested her daughter and she feared for her son’s safety.


During a nine-minute exchange, Russo said that if she didn’t provide her address, she would permanently lose reliability with the court.


He’s going to find you, ma’am. We’re all going to find you,” he stated.


Russo’s removal from the office means that he cannot occupy any administrative positions in the state.


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