Sexual harassment case against Rhode Island judge proceeding

A Rhode Island district court judge is scheduled to go before a state commission next month that is looking into sexual harassment and judicial misconduct complaints against him.

The Providence Journal reports ( ) that more than 50 witnesses are expected to testify on charges alleging Judge Rafael Ovalles mistreated court staff, lawyers and the public and degraded women.

Ovalles has denied the allegations and argues the complaints were lodged against him in retaliation.

The proceedings before the Rhode Island Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline are to begin Jan. 23.

The commission will make a recommendation to the state Supreme Court after the hearing.

District Court Chief Judge Jeanne LaFazia has excused 52-year-old Ovalles from all judicial duties with pay, pending the hearing.


Information from: The Providence Journal,