Judge who told rape victim to ‘close your legs’ gets booted from the bench permanently

Thanks to the state’s Supreme Court, a New Jersey judge who was previously suspended for comments he made to an alleged rape victim will never serve as a judge in the state again, according to NJ.com.

The New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision this Tuesday removing John Russo Jr. from judicial office and barred him from presiding over a New Jersey courtroom due to “repeated and serious acts of misconduct.”

Russo first made headlines after he was reprimanded for asking an alleged rape victim why she didn’t stop an assault carried out by a man she was seeking a restraining order against.

“Do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?” he asked her, according to a transcript.

The woman replied, “run away or try to get away,” prompting Russo to then ask if there was anything else she could have done.

“Block your body parts?” Russo said, offering more suggestions. “Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?”

In light of Russo’s comments, New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner wrote in the court’s opinion this Tuesday that it’s “inconceivable” that Russo could preside over domestic violence or sexual assault matters in the future.

“No reasonable victim could have confidence in a court system were he to preside over those kinds of cases again,” he wrote.

“No witness, alleged victim, or litigant should be treated that way in a court of law,” Rabner wrote, adding that judges “set the tone for a courtroom. Especially when it comes to sensitive matters like domestic violence and sexual assault, that tone must be dignified, solemn, and respectful, not demeaning or sophomoric. [Russo] failed in that regard.”

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.