According to the NY Post, a judge in the Perry County District of Pennsylvania has been charged for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy.
Judge Michael Schechterly, 58-years-old was charged with unlawful contact with children, corruption of minors and indecent assault, and other counts following a state police investigation after accusations of Schechterly sexually assaulted a boy in his home in 2012. A witness told authorities on another occasion that the judge inappropriately touched himself in front of a child.
Initially, Judge Schecterly claimed the boy took the judge’s hand and put it on the child’s crotch. He then changed the story saying the boy took his own hand and put his hand on Schecterlys genitals.
An investigation has been launched against Schecterly. Witnesses told police that this judge would take children into his court and home regularly. Additionally, Schechterly discussed a porn addiction and habit of masturbating several times throughout a day with investigators.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, works with sexual assault victims and their families in civil lawsuits. Below, we asked Brian to provide insight into the legal rights of the victims sexually assaulted by a judge.
“Patrons trust and respect judges due to their high status. There is an expectation that judges will carry themselves professionally and treat patrons with respect. Unfortunately, as seen around the country, some judges abuse their positions of power by taking advantage of people they encounter and exploiting their vulnerability. The justice system ensures patrons are safe and holds judges accountable for their actions. Victims of sexual assault should know their legal options.”
“Courts are legally obligated to uphold the safety of those who enter the courtroom. Sexual assault by a judge is often the result of negligence. If a court is found negligent in the sexual assault, they may be held liable in a civil lawsuit. Examples of negligence include but are not limited to a judge having previous misconduct reports against them but being permitted to work; or if other judges are aware of sexual abuse but do not report it. Victims sexually assaulted by a judge should consult an experienced sexual abuse lawyer to help determine if they have a case.”