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Judge apologizes for telling woman to close her legs to prevent sexual assault

Judge under fire over "close your legs" remark
Judge under fire for asking woman if she tried to close her legs to prevent attack 00:25

A New Jersey judge who told a woman she should close her legs to prevent a sexual assault is "remorseful," his lawyer said. Judge John Russo Jr. did not speak Tuesday at a disciplinary hearing before the state Supreme Court. But his lawyer, Amelia Carolla, told the justices Russo has "learned his lesson" and he "will not do this again."

The woman appeared before Russo in 2016 seeking a restraining order against a man she said sexually assaulted her. According to, a transcript of the hearing showed that Russo asked the woman, "Do you know how to stop somebody from having intercourse with you?"

The woman suggested physically defending herself and running away, to which Russo responded, "Run away, get away. Anything else?"

"I — that's all I know," the woman said.

"Block your body parts?" Russo continued. "Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?"

Russo has said he was seeking more information and wasn't trying to humiliate the woman.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner questioned how a sex assault victim could have confidence in the judicial process if Russo remains on the bench. The justices are deciding how to discipline the judge.

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