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'Highly Disturbing': LI Judge Allegedly Entered Neighbor's Home, Stole Underwear

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Suffolk County judge is on the other side of the law, facing charges for allegedly entering his neighbor's home and stealing underwear.

District Court Judge Robert Cicale was walked out of the 3rd Precinct in handcuffs Friday morning with his head down, CBS2's Reena Roy reported. Cicale is charged with burglary in the second degree.

Cameras were not allowed in court, but Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said the 49-year-old married father of three broke into a neighbor's home Thursday morning on Donna Place in East Islip and stole her underwear from her bedroom hamper.

"Obviously, this case is highly disturbing. This is an individual who swore to uphold the law and violated it in a very serious way," Sini said. "The message here, both from the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, is that no one is above the law."

The DA's office said he admitted to doing the same several times in the past, Roy reported.

"He did indicate in his confession that he has urges to steal women's underwear," Sini said. "Essentially, the victim was home alone and she heard someone in the residence. The defendant went to her bedroom."

When Cicale allegedly noticed the 23-year-old woman was home, police said he tried to run but they caught him nearby with pairs of underwear in a jacket pocket and another jacket with even more of them.

Cicale's attorney William Wexler spoke to reporters outside court Friday, saying his family is shocked and trying to cope.

"I can see in his face he feels miserable," Wexler said.

CBS2 spotted a worker at the victim's home late Thursday changing locks on the front door. Cicale has been served an order of protection to stay at least 100 feet from the home.

"As far as I understand, she's a college graduate. Friends of my daughter, who is the same age, very nice family," said neighbor William Bloom. "They've been next door to us for a good part of 20 years."

Cicale was elected to the bench in 2015. Before that, he served as Islip town attorney. Officials say the victim interned for the office at one point. Neighbors find the news hard to believe.

"Whatever neighbors do for each other, he's always been there for us and I've always been there for him," said neighbor Nick Andronica. "And I still feel that way."

Cicale reportedly wrote an apology letter to the victim and her family, Roy reported.

He was freed on bail with a court ordered GPS monitor and has been relieved of his duties indefinitely. The state court of appeals will decide if he will be suspended with or without pay.

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