In a decision made on August 17 and released to the public yesterday, The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed Onondaga County Family Court Judge, Bryan R. Hedges, from office for allegedly sexually abusing his five-year-old niece 40 years earlier. A complaint was filed with the commission on May 3 and Hedge responded on May 23. In his response "he admitted that in or about 1972 his five-year-old niece touched his hand while he was stroking his penis; he denied that his actions violated the cited ethical rules, and, as an affirmative defense, alleged that the Commission lacks jurisdiction because the incident predated his service as a judge by approximately thirteen years."
A hearing was held in June, after which the referee sustained the charge of misconduct against Hedges. The commission then conducted hearings and decided that Hedges should be removed from office even though in the meantime he had already resigned. In its decision, the commission stated, "The nature of respondent's conduct involving an admitted sexual act with a defenseless child is abhorrent and not attenuated by the passage of time. It thus reflects adversely on his fitness to perform the duties of a judge and is prejudicial to the administration of justice notwithstanding that it predates his ascension to the bench..."
The commission's full decision can be read here.