December 6, 2005
Case Law Development: Consecutive Discipline Appropriate for Family Law Magistrate's Sexual Assault of Petitioners
The West Virginia Supreme Court censured a magistrate judge, imposing four one-year suspensions and fines totaling $20,000, in a case in which the magistrate judge had sexually assaulted women, two of whom had come to the court for protective orders in domestic violence cases. In justifying the consecutive imposition of separate sanctions for each of the four violations, the court expressed its outrage at the magistrate's conduct: "Imagine going to a magistrate's office to fill out a domestic violence petition after being beaten so badly that you required medical attention and then having the magistrate grab you and engage in revolting and inappropriate sexual contact. Such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated by this Court."
In re Toler, 2005 W. Va. LEXIS 177 (December 2, 2005)
Opinion on the web at http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/docs/fall05/31797.htm (last visited December 5, 2005 bgf)