TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A longtime judge from New Jersey is under fire for the way he handled a rape case involving teenagers.

Critics are angry, saying 69-year-old Monmouth County judge James Troiano’s ruling was “too lenient” toward a 16-year-old boy accused of assaulting a girl at a party in 2017, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu explains.

According to court documents, the suspect filmed himself penetrating a 16-year-old girl from behind on his cell phone, showing her bare torso and her head hanging down.

Prosecutors say the teen shared video of the alleged incident and texted friends saying “when your first time having sex was rape.”

Troiano denied the prosecutor’s request to move the case to adult court, describing the suspect as an Eagle Scout and saying he came “from a good family” and “was doing extremely well” in school.

The decision by Troiano was reversed last month, allowing prosecutors to pursue an indictment in adult court.

“The judge completely disregarded the law. Let’s be clear here. What the judge was trying determine had nothing to do with whether someone’s background was privileged, whether someone’s background wasn’t. It was a simple legal question,” CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said.

The judge also questioned out loud whether the encounter was a rape, saying rape usually involved two or more males using a weapon, sometimes in an abandoned house or shed.

“Decisions like this and statements like this that favor accused perpetrators really depress victims’ willingness to come forward,” Stanford law professor Michele Dauber said.

Troiano has not commented. The judge actually retired eight years ago, but was recalled to work. His current recall will end in 2021.


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