Michigan judge announces retirement after investigation supports law school intern’s sexual harassment claim

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A Michigan judge has announced he will retire in November, following an investigation into an allegation he sexually harassed a law school intern last year.

Judge Joseph J. Farah, who sits on the bench for Genesse County, Michigan’s Seventh Judicial Circuit, was the subject of a complaint from Grace Ketzner, who articled for him in 2021 as she was a third-year law student at Michigan State University. . At the time, Farah was also an adjunct professor at the law school.

Michigan State University’s Office of Resolutions issued a ruling in July stating that evidence shows it is more likely than not that Farah violated Title IX and MSU’s Violence in Schools Policy. relationships and sexual misconduct. The ruling, obtained and reported by Michigan Radio, noted that Ketzner filed a lawsuit in December 2021 that made allegations of sexual harassment and harassment. The decision found that the allegation of sexual harassment was supported by evidence, but not harassment.

Among the allegations were “explicit sexual advances”, including asking him to buy a typist for a novel he was writing about a woman whose older male boss “teaches him to explore himself” sexually, and reading his “highly sexually suggestive” language of the book. She also alleged that Farah would invite her to travel with him or go out for lunch or drinks, and that after she refused, he would not speak to her the next day, or in one case, according to the investigation, he “did retaliated against her by spreading negative comments about her.”

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Michigan Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Joseph J. Farah (Michigan Seventh Judicial Circuit Court)

According to Michigan Radio, Ketzner sought advice from a professor, none other than Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. Judge Aquilina presided over one of the criminal trials of Larry Nassar, the former MSU and US Gym doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing women and girls in his care.

Aquilina told the station that she advised Ketzner to report the allegations to Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission. She recalled that “[h]The pain and fear was believable.” She also recalled Ketzner once telling her that Farah was planning to shadow her class, which made her “scared.” Aquilina told her she was excused from class. That day.

Farah, who announced her upcoming retirement on Tuesday, denied any wrongdoing in a statement to MSU, an excerpt of which was carried by Michigan Radio.

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“Never at this time did I make any sexual overtures. I never intended to make her uncomfortable,” he said in the statement. Neither she, nor her supervisor, nor anyone else told me that what I said made her feel uncomfortable. Had I known, I would have apologized, rectified the situation, and not repeated any offensive statements. I deny that anything I said was sexual in nature.”

In the end, the school resolution office found Ketzner to be more believable than Farah.

Ketzner told local ABC12 that she wants to continue pursuing justice in her legal career.

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“I know the type of person I want to be and the type of lawyer to become – someone who stands up against injustices like this,” she said. “I think it’s been happening for too long.”

A spokesperson for MSU said he could not comment on the matter, but confirmed to Fox News that Farah had not been a faculty member there since May 15, 2021.

Jon J. Epps