A Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judge has been charged with misconduct after allegedly groping an administrative office worker at a bar following a work conference on Cape Cod last year, according to court documents.
The formal charges filed with the Supreme Judicial Court against Judge Paul M. Sushchyk, associate justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, state he “pinched or squeezed” the buttocks of a female administrative office worker last year.
Both Sushchyk and the female employee were attending a spring conference held at Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster in April, 2019.
The alleged incident happened after the first day of the conference had concluded and some attendees went to a bar following dinner.
The female worker, who said she was sitting on a bar stool at a table with some coworkers at the time, stated during a Monday virtual hearing, “It felt like someone was sliding their hand under me and using their full hand to grab upwards.”
The woman said she turned around and “saw Paul Sushchyk behind me over my left shoulder.” The woman also noted that Sushchyk “opened his coat pocket and pulled out a flask” around that time.
She said in a text to friends that the following day at the conference, Sushchyk “spent the day hovering uncomfortably around me.”
A few days after the conference, the worker reported the alleged groping to Probate and Family Court Chief Justice John Casey.
Casey’s investigation summary says he scheduled a meeting with Sushchyk to talk about the matter, during which Sushchyk said he “could not recall this incident” and he “couldn’t have done this.”
Casey’s investigation concluded in saying there was nonconsensual contact between the woman and Sushchyk that was initiated by Sushchyk.
Sushchyk, represented by attorney Michael Angelini, denied the allegations of misconduct.
Angelini, referring to the female administrative employee, said in the Monday hearing, “She has no basis to believe that Judge Sushchyk has done any of these things.”
In a line of questioning to the female worker, Angelini said, “If there were other people behind you, any one of them could have grabbed you at that moment.”
In a statement from Sushchyk filed with court documents, he said on the night of the incident he was “somewhat unsteady” on his feet due to a hip surgery and a long day of work.
He said he passed by the female worker and steadied himself “in the direction of her chair.” Sushchyk said it was then that he “came into momentary contact with a portion of her lower body.”
Retired Judge Bertha Josephson presided as the hearing officer and said the public proceedings will continue starting Tuesday morning.