Ariz. Judge to Victim: Expect Sex Abuse in a Bar

Now she's sorry for 'disrespectful' comments in sex abuse case

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2012 12:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Arizona judge appointed by controversial Governor Jan Brewer has triggered a stink after telling a groping victim that she should have expected sex abuse because she was in a bar. The comments caused such an uproar that the female judge has now apologized. When an off-duty highway patrol officer was sentenced last week to two years probation for sex abuse for the incident in a Flagstaff bar, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch lectured the victim: “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.” She warned the abuse victim that women must be "vigilant," and advised that even a late-night trip to the grocery store can be dangerous for women. “When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch scolded, quoting something her mother used to say.

The flabbergasted victim told the Arizona Daily Sun that she was "shocked" by the judge's comments, and pointed out that if she hadn't been at the bar, the officer would have likely assaulted another woman. She demanded an apology, and furious locals launched a petition to demand the judge resign. "It is my responsibility to ensure that all victims and defendants are treated fairly and in a respectful manner in the courtroom," the judge said Saturday in a statement. "I apologize to the victim for any additional anguish my comments may have caused. It was never my intention to make a situation worse for any victim. I have learned an important lesson." The officer has been fired from the Highway Patrol.

Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer.
Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer.   (Coconino County)
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