A New Jersey judge is sorry for the off-handed comments he made to a rape victim during a 2016 hearing, where he suggested the woman could “close her legs” to avoid forceful sex, according to a report.
The apology came during a Tuesday state Supreme Court disciplinary hearing for Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr., who’s facing a yet-to-be determined suspension for the comments, according to NJ.com.
“He did not intend to imply that a victim of sexual assault should close her legs to avoid” rape, his attorney, Amelia Carolla, told the seven-member Supreme Court.
“He now understands that his intentions do not matter. He understands that what matters only is the impact his words had on others. He is remorseful about the hurt that this may have caused the plaintiff,” Carolla added.
The offensive exchange began when Russo asked the woman, “Do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?” according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by NJ.com.
The victim offered logical responses, including to flee or physically defend herself.
But Russo Jr. countered, “Block your body parts? Close your legs? Call the police? Do you do any of those things?”
A year after the incident in May 2017, the judge was placed on administrative leave, but returned to work this year, according to the report.
He could now face up to a six-month suspension.