Judge allegedly demanded sexual favors

Oct. 13, 2011 at 4:50 PM
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BRADDOCK HILLS, Pa., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A judge in western Pennsylvania has been charged with demanding sexual favors from at least two women who appeared before him.

District Judge Ross Cioppa, 70, of Braddock Hills was arraigned Wednesday and released on $10,000 bond, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. He faces charges of bribery, indecent assault and official oppression.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said the charges involve two women in land-lord tenant cases. He said about 20 other cases are being reviewed, including small claims and traffic tickets.

"This is dealing with the integrity of the justice system," Zappala said. "The victims are some of the most vulnerable people in the community."

Phil DiLucente, one of Cioppa's lawyers, said the judge denies any wrongdoing.

"We look forward to putting this behind the judge. This is someone who has served his community for two decades."

Cioppa, who planned to retire at the end of the year, has been a judge for 12 years. Then-Gov. Ed Rendell named him to the Clarion University council of trustees in 2009, and he is also a former member of a local school board.

Zappala said Cioppa's alleged misconduct was reported by two members of his staff.

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