Here’s some great news this Thursday morning: James Troiano, the judge who let an alleged teen rapist get off easy in June because he came from a “good family” and claimed the case did not concern “traditional” rape, has resigned from his position.
The Washington Post reports that Troiano resigned after protests of his “good family” comments. The resignation follows another case of a New Jersey judge facing consequences for mishandling an assault case. Judge John Russo Jr., who asked a woman why she had not tried to close her legs during an assault, was suspended in April without pay. On Wednesday the state announced it was moving toward removing Russo from the bench permanently.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote in a statement regarding both judges, “Sexual assault is an act of violence. It terrorizes, degrades, and induces fear in victims...And our State has a strong interest in protecting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
Both Russo and Troiano’s comments aren’t surprising given the history of judges going easy on privileged teen boys who don’t fit their stereotypes of who is rapist material (here’s a tip, it can be anyone!) In 2014 a judge claimed that a man who raped a sleeping woman was not a “classic rapist” and in 2016 a Canadian judge asked a rape victim why she couldn’t “keep her knees shut.” Aaron Persky, the California judge who oversaw the Brock Turner case, was recalled following uproar after he sentenced Turner to six months in prison after he was convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault. The steps taken in New Jersey are small, but they should serve a reminder of what can be done with judges who are clearly incapable of handling cases of assault.