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Judge is accused of sexual misconduct

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 2, 2007


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TALLAHASSEE - A judge in Orlando violated judicial ethics by making unwanted sexual advances last year toward a law student in a Barry University class that he was co-teaching, a state investigative panel charged Friday.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission panel also accused Circuit Judge James Hauser of erratic and abusive behavior on the bench in papers filed with the Florida Supreme Court.

Orange County sheriff's deputies closed a criminal investigation into Hauser's conduct with the student without filing charges after the woman stopped cooperating, according to files obtained by the Orlando Sentinel through a public records request in March.

Hauser has 20 days to reply to the allegations. His lawyer, Keith Mitnik, said he will fight the charges. The commission could hold hearings and then recommend that the Supreme Court take disciplinary action, ranging from a reprimand to removal from the bench.

"There was no sexual intercourse, " Mitnik said. He added, "There was some kind of interaction between them."

Hauser insists that interaction was consensual, Mitnik said. He also noted the 35-year-old woman did not come forward until about 10 months after the alleged advances.

The allegations came from certain family court lawyers, Mitnik said, adding that Hauser, through a routine rotation, no longer presides there.

[Last modified June 2, 2007, 01:57:02]


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