Judiciary

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A municipal court judge in New Jersey has been charged with fourth-degree sexual contact for allegedly grabbing a woman’s breasts when she was at his law office.

Judge Nino Falcone, 78, of the North Bergen township municipal court has been suspended from the bench indefinitely without pay, report Law360, the NJ.com and NBC New York. He has been a judge for 32 years. The Hudson County prosecutor’s office announced the arrest on Facebook on Sept. 12, and the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended Falcone the same day.

The woman, 33, told police that the incident happened at Falcone’s private law office when she was there on business Aug. 29, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The woman is an office manager for a doctor’s office that has been represented by Falcone, and the woman has also hired him for personal matters.

The woman said she had discussed business and her recent birthday and vacations with Falcone during the office visit. When she was attempting to leave, Falcone allegedly pulled her in for a hug and rubbed her back. The woman said she tried to push Falcone away, but he slid his hands along the side of her chest and grabbed her breasts. Falcone allegedly told woman to let him “play” with her and grabbed her wrist.

When Falcone let go of her wrist, the woman said, he pulled out his wallet and offered her birthday money. The woman went back to the doctor’s office and told the doctor and the receptionist her allegations. The doctor said the woman was crying and shaking, and the receptionist said she found the woman crying in the restroom.

The woman also told her husband, who also said his wife was crying and shaking.

The woman said she didn’t want to report the incident to police because Falcone is a judge.

A North Bergen spokesman told Law360 and NJ.com that the alleged incident didn’t occur on township property and didn’t involve any other employee connected to the court.

“Judge Falcone has provided many years of dedicated and unblemished public service,” the spokesperson said. “We will follow the directives of the New Jersey judiciary, which has jurisdiction over municipal court judges, and we will refrain from commenting further while this case advances through the legal process.”