Family Court Judge Resigns Amid Accusation of ‘Groping’

By Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.
April 1, 2022 Updated: April 4, 2022

A Massachusetts family court and probate judge accused of the inappropriate touching of an employee has resigned.

Judge Paul Sushchyk turned in his letter of resignation to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Mar. 28. His alleged misconduct happened outside of the courtroom.

Sushchyk has been the subject of an ongoing investigation that started in 2019 after a female co-worker accused him of groping her buttocks.

At the time, the woman served as the field coordinator for the Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Courts. She was also a staff liaison to the Massachusetts Court’s Judicial Education Committee.

In the complaint that she filed against Sushchyk, the female court employee accused Sushchyk of groping her buttocks using what she said felt like “a full hand.” 

Sushchyk’s attorney, Michael Angelini of the Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey, didn’t return phone calls from The Epoch Times about the allegations.

According to court records, the incident is alleged to have occurred at a dinner event that was part of a probate and family court conference for judges that she, Sushchyk, and other Massachusetts court officials had attended.

In her complaint, the worker named potential witnesses, all of whom were other court employees, and also produced evidence of a text message she sent to her sister immediately following the alleged incident.

“I am still reeling a bit today from it. Kinda thought maybe it was a mistake until today he spent the day hovering uncomfortably around me,” she texted.

In a formal response to the complaint against Sushchyk, Angelini wrote that his client “denies that he had any physical contact whatsoever with any part” of the woman’s body.

However, in a written statement he gave nearly a year earlier and shortly following the alleged groping incident, Sushchyk wrote that he had come into “momentary contact with a portion of her lower body” in an attempt to steady himself. 

“I was somewhat unsteady on my feet, feeling the effect of past hip replacement surgery, the long day, the evening meal, and the alcohol consumed,” Suschyk wrote.

The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct found the contradiction to be enough to recommend that Suschhyk be suspended without pay during the continued investigation into the alleged incident.

“He falsely claimed to the court administration investigating the matter that he had a recollection of incidental contact, a falsehood he knowingly provided in an attempt to exculpate himself,” the commission wrote in its findings.

“Such misdirection during the investigation not only evinces a consciousness of guilt, but is wholly inconsistent with the oath of office and ethical conduct required of a judge.”

However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which has the authority to impose administrative discipline against state judges, didn’t follow the commission’s 2020 recommendation and instead allowed Sushchyk to continue receiving his annual $185,000 judge’s salary while keeping him on administrative suspension during the investigation.

It wasn’t until March 23 that the court ordered Sushchyk be taken off the state’s payroll and issued a ruling that it found there was sufficient evidence that Sushchyk engaged in “intentional, nonconsensual, and unwelcome touching” of his female co-worker.

The court didn’t recommend terminating Sushchyk as a judge.

In its decision, the court indicated that Sushchyk was only being suspended without pay for a “reasonable time to permit the executive and legislative branches to consider, ‘if they wish,’ whether [Sushchyk] should retain his judicial office.”

It also didn’t follow the judicial conduct commission’s recommendation that Sushchyk be publicly reprimanded and be ordered to reimburse the state for the commission’s investigation.

“We do not adopt the commission’s recommendations that the respondent be censured publicly and ordered to pay the commission’s costs because we believe the objectives of those sanctions effectively have been achieved by the sanction we have imposed,” the court wrote in its order.

Sushchyk served for less than a year on the bench before he was accused.

Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.