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N.J. high court removes judge who caused stir in 2018 rape case

By Clyde Hughes

July 18 (UPI) -- The New Jersey Supreme Court has taken action against two controversial judges -- and removed one of whom caused a stir last year by refusing to try an accused teenage rapist as an adult because he came from a "good family" and was once an Eagle Scout.

The high court removed Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James Troiano from the bench, at the judge's request. It also opened proceedings to remove Ocean County Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr. for asking a woman in a different rape case if she tried closing her legs to avoid being assaulted.

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Troiano retired from full-time service in 2012 but had since been hearing cases on an on-call basis. In a case last year, he ruled that the accused teen should not face adult court. The boy had filmed the incident and posted the video online with the comment, "When your first time having sex was rape."

"This young man comes from a good family, who put him into an excellent school where he was doing extremely well," Troiano said at the time. "He is clearly a candidate for not just college, but probably for a good college. His scores for college entry were very high."

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An appellate court later overturned Troiano's ruling. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he was satisfied Troiano was removed.

A complaint against another New Jersey judge, Middlesex County Family Court Judge Maria Silvia, has also been filed by four state senators for comments she made at a child sexual assault case involving a 12-year-old girl. She'd blocked moving the case to adult court, and said, "The victim did not suffer any physical or emotional injuries as a result, other than the ramifications of losing her virginity, which the court does not find to be especially serious harm in this case."

Silva's decision was also overturned by an appellant court.

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"Every effort must be made not to re-victimize a victim," state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said in a statement announcing an "enhanced" training program for judges.

"Sexual assault is an act of violence. It terrorizes, degrades, and induces fear in victims. Without question, it is a most serious matter."

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