FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- An Allen County judge seeks forgiveness for comments made at a retirement gathering last week.
The comments, with sexual overtones, sparked a memo to courthouse staff, citing county policy on sexual harassment.
It's a story about an ill-conceived attempt at humor, which a top public official wishes he could take back in a big way.
Allen Superior Court civil judge Stan Levine took the microphone at a retirement send-off for three long-time court staff, including two women.
At one point, with a lot of people in the room, even some kids, he said one of the women could move on to a second career as a phone-sex operator, joking about how much money she could make.
This week, the Allen County Board of Judges sent out a memo to court staff, citing the fact some found his remarks "offensive", and that county policy states anyone who feels harassed can report the conduct to a supervisor.
" The Allen Superior Court wants to assure our employees that they're valued, that Allen Superior Court is a great place to work, so we've taken steps to ensure that our employees know that”, said Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis, chief judge in the local court system.
Judge Levine is not trying to justify his statements.
In fact, he's saying he was dead wrong.
"First of all, I wanted to state that I have made a sincere and heartfelt apology to the woman about whom I made inappropriate remarks by talking to her personally, and she has accepted my apology”, said Levine.
”I have always conducted my private and public life without demeaning or mistreating any women with whom I worked or employed, or interacted in any manner.”
“What I quite mistakenly meant to be humorous was in truth extremely tasteless. I am, to say the least, deeply troubled by what I said, and I deeply regret having said it. Finally, no one in this world is perfect, least of all me. Since that is abundantly clear, I am truly sorry.”
The uncomfortable situation is probably not over.
Because judges are held to a very high standard, the comments will likely be formally reported to the Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission, possibly by Levine himself.
It’s not known if some sort of discipline will be imposed.
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