Judge: Teen Accused of Rape 'Comes From Good Family'

James Troiano rebuked by appeals court for noting alleged rapist's likeliness to go to 'good college'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2019 6:11 AM CDT
Judge: Teen Accused of Rape 'Comes From Good Family'
The teen in this case is alleged to have sent a graphic video and text that read: "When your first time having sex was rape."   (Getty Images/Tero Vesalainen)

The similarities to Brock Turner haven't gone unnoticed. The New York Times references the Turner case, and others, in mentioning the latest judge to come under fire for the handling of a sexual assault case. In this instance, it's New Jersey Superior Court Judge James Troiano who's received an appeals court rebuke for his ruling last year in which he turned down a prosecutorial waiver application to try a teen accused of rape as an adult. The boy, known in court filings as "GMC," allegedly raped a drunk 16-year-old at a party when he was 16, recorded himself penetrating her, and then disseminated that video, with a text that said, "When your first time having sex was rape." Troiano, however, said the term "rape" was usually reserved for women held at gunpoint by strangers, and that GMC "comes from a good family," went to "an excellent school," and "is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably for a good college."

Troiano also said that the sexually explicit texts between GMC and his friends about the alleged assault were "just a 16-year-old kid saying stupid crap to his friends," and that Troiano was worried prosecutors hadn't adequately explained to the girl and her family how seeking the waiver to try GMC as an adult would have a "devastating effect" on GMC's life. The appeals court reversed Troiano's ruling, noting in its decision that "his consideration of these elements ... sounded as if he had conducted a bench trial on the charges rather than neutrally reviewed the State's [waiver] application." Now, thanks to that ruling, GMC's case will move from family court to a grand jury, which will decide whether to indict him on sexual assault charges as an adult. (More rape stories.)

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