A judge in Los Angeles, California is facing some rather shocking allegations that he sexually harassed court employees and even another justice, with some allegations dating back nearly two decades.
The allegations against Justice Jeffrey Johnson, who sits on the California's Second District Court of Appeals, includes some rather untoward conduct, such as actual groping and making inappropriate and suggestive comments. In addition to the sexual harassment, Johnson reportedly has "appeared drunk in public" a few too many times, and had a habit of yelling at staff.
In the times we are living in, these allegations shouldn't really be a surprise even when a judicial officer is exposed. While hearing about a particular judge might be surprising to many, the fact is that many judges were made judges well before they ever believed the world would come around to see sexual harassment as a disgusting and discriminatory practice, rather than just "the way things are" or whatever other excuse harassers used in the past to justify unjustifiable conduct.
Judge Johnson has denied the allegations, but that denial, like most in these circumstances, really begs the question of how allegations like these come out when victims really don't have anything to gain. Curiously though, the judge's attorney claimed that he passed a lie detector test concerning "the most serious allegations."
As noted by Stanford Law professor Deborah Rhode, the days of individuals tolerating the same abuses of the past are over. And as we see in Judge Johnson's matter, and many of the other #MeToo cases, it's rarely ever just a single isolated incident.
The Power of a Complaint
In these changed times, sexual harassment complaints seem to have more power than ever before. While the misconduct of the past may have gone unpunished, when it comes to corroborating recent misconduct, that's a whole different story.
Recently retired Wisconsin judge, Eric Lundell, resigned after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him. Curiously, in the complaint, witnesses explained that Lundell had a history of questionable behavior.