Family Court Judge Resigns Over Accusations of Inappropriate Touching

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In one of a growing number of cases involving misconduct by family court judges, a Massachusetts family court and probate judge accused of inappropriate touching of an employee has resigned.

Judge Paul Sushchyk turned in his letter of resignation to Gov. Charlie Baker earlier this week on March 28. Sushchyk’s alleged misconduct happened outside of the courtroom.

Sushchyk has been under investigation since 2019 based on an allegation made by one of his female co-workers. At the time, the woman served as the field coordinator for the Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Courts. She was also a staff liaison to the Massachusetts Court’s Judicial Education Committee.

In the complaint, the female court employee accused Sushchyk of grabbing and squeezing her buttocks for several seconds while she passed by a table where he was seated. The incident occurred at a two-day conference held on Cape Cod for judges and other court workers.

Although Sushchyk denied he ever touched his co-worker, he wrote in a statement that the allegation has reminded him that while serving as a judge, he must conduct himself “in a manner at all times befitting my office, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

His resignation follows a recent recommendation by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct that Sushchyk be suspended without pay.

Sushchyk’s request to “impound” his identity from the public was denied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Sushchyk’s resignation follows another case involving a family court judge in the neighboring state of New Hampshire.

In November, a group of parents reacted with outrage when New Hampshire Family Court Judge Julie Introcaso escaped jail time after she pled guilty to tampering with evidence in a custody matter that financially benefited a guardian ad litem.

The parents are now asking for an investigation into other cases decided by Introcaso.

The New Hampshire House recently passed a bill that calls for an investigation into the state’s family court system. It still has to win approval by the Senate and garner final authorization from Sununu.

The practices of family court judges across the United States are increasingly being called into question.

In June last year, Philadelphia Family Court Judge Lyris Younge was suspended after years of complaints by both parents and attorneys against her rulings and practices, which included ordering parents to be handcuffed after they complained that Younge was not following the law or due process rights.

Younge was ordered to write letters of apology to every person she wronged but was allowed to return to the bench in January to oversee arbitration appeals in civil court.

Recently, in response to the growing complaints, the U.S. Congress passed the Safe Child Act, which calls upon states to reform their family court systems, including retraining judges and banning them from forcing children to live with abusive parents.

It is also known as Kayden’s Law, named after Kayden Mancuso—one of more than 830 children murdered by a parent who was given custody in spite of having a documented history of abusing the child.

Before the reforms, as reported in a story by The Epoch Times, a family court judge would, instead of holding the abusive parent accountable, accuse the other parent of “parental alienation” for raising the abuse in private custody matters.

That accusation typically led to court-ordered reunification therapy and a host of similar court appointments that generated income for court appointees and the court system.

The call for the reform of the family court system does seem to be making some headway.

Following an evidentiary hearing in the Sushcyk case out of Massachusetts, the judicial conduct commission found that there was credible evidence corroborating the allegations against him. They also concluded that the evidence showed that Sushchyk was lying when he said he never touched the female employee.

“He falsely claimed to the Court administration investigating the matter that he had a recollection of incidental contact, a falsehood he knowingly provided in an attempt to exculpate himself.

“Such misdirection during the investigation not only evinces a consciousness of guilt, but is wholly inconsistent with the oath of office and ethical conduct required of a judge,” the commission wrote in its findings.

Alice Giordano


Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.

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