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Judge draws fire for suggesting $1-per-grope harassment fine

While alluding to the Trump era.
Latisha Fisher
Latisha Fisher will serve 18 years in prison for smothering her son before his second birthday. Photo: Google Commons

A Pennsylvania judge suggested that a man convicted of harassment pay his victim $1 for each time he groped her, the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" reported. For his comments, the judge will be reported to the state's judicial-conduct board by the Allegheny County District Attorney.

Common Pleas Senior Judge Lester G. Nauhaus proposed the unorthodox punishment during an appeal hearing in which the convicted male, a juvenile, contested the $300 fine levied against him for harassment against a female minor; he said he was unable to pay it. The assistant district attorney, Jeff Tisak, told Nauhaus they sought 90 days' probation and a no-contact order.

“Fine,” said Nauhaus, according to court records. “I’m going to give him a 90-day postponement. He has to do community service. And he has to pay a $3 fine. How many times did he touch?”

“I’m going to say about six times, maybe,” the victim responded.

“A $6 fine,” the judge said.

“It is just highly inappropriate to tell a young girl that inappropriate touching is worth a dollar a time,” Tisak said.

“What do you want me to fine him?” the judge asked. “He doesn’t have any money.”

The judge then passed down the sentence of a 90 days' postponement and community service.

At some point, the judge seemed to imply that Donald Trump would not have a problem with the conduct. (Trump was infamously caught on tape bragging of "grabbing women by the pussy.") “Listen, I can name at least one adult that thinks that’s okay," said Nauhaus. "He’s an important guy.”

Nauhaus denied to the "Post-Gazette" that he was referring to Trump. He said he wasn't trying to "mock or denigrate" the victim's experience but to "find some way of punishing" her assailant.

"Such conduct has no place in our system and the District Attorney will bring it to the attention of the appropriate persons and, if necessary, the Judicial Conduct," said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, in a statement. Manko said the DA will make "drastic changes to the way our office ... deals with domestic violence cases."