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The Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River.

Women’s group calls for Russo’s resignation

By Nikita Biryukov, April 26 2019 12:52 pm

The New Jersey and Ocean County branches of the National Organization for Women called for Superior Court Judge John Russo to resign Friday, who asked a sexual assault victim if she attempted to close her legs to ward off her attacker.

“In this era of #MeToo, women are speaking up to hold powerful men accountable for their bad behavior,” Ocean County NOW president Linda Fote said. “Judge Russo’s actions create a hostile climate for witnesses, defendants and those who work in the court. Just as we think we have made strides in how victims of sexual assault are treated, such conduct serves to remind us that there remain men in positions of power who haven’t gotten the message.”

The New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial conduct issued Russo a three-month suspension for his comments to the sexual assault victim and other alleged ethical violations.

Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez have slammed Russo for his comments but stopped short of calling for his resignation, citing the independence of the judiciary.

State Sen. Vin Gopal has called for Russo’s resignation and for the creation of a set of legislative guidelines that would mandate harsher penalties for statements like Russo’s.

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