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Judge apologizes for telling woman to sell nude photos to Playboy  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Alberto Rivas — a Superior Court judge in Middlesex County, New Jersey — is facing charges of violating the judicial code by making inappropriate remarks in a Family Court hearing, including advising a woman in a love triangle to divorce her husband and "take half his pension" and suggesting to the other woman in the triangle that she send nude photographs of herself to Hugh Hefner.

Rivas, who serves as Assignment Judge in the county, has apologized for the remarks.

"I regret the comments I made during the proceeding," Rivas said in a statement. "I felt the court was being manipulated, but I let my feelings about the case influence my language, tone and demeanor, all of which were inappropriate."

The charges by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct against Rivas, who became a judge in 2010, arise from a Family Court case on Jan. 10 when a woman sought the return of several suggestive photographs she took of herself for her former boyfriend, which were allegedly forwarded to the boyfriend's wife.

The woman told the judge she was afraid the wife would forward the pictures to the woman's workplace.

In an exchange with woman, Rivas said that her testimony was not believable.

"I was born at night," the judge said, according to a transcript. "It was not last night."

In his answer to the complaint, Rivas said the case initially appeared to be a revenge porn or blackmail matter, but it became apparent that the woman "was attempting to perpetuate a fraud on the court."

As the hearing progressed, Rivas said in the answer to the charges, it became clear the woman's story was "a complete fabrication" and that she had "orchestrated" the "legal charade."

Rivas questioned the woman's statement that she did not know where her boyfriend's wife worked.

"Do not sit there and tell me that you're having a relationship with a married man and that you don't where his wife works," the judge said, adding "I've been doing this for a number of years. Better people have attempted to lie to me. You're not that good."

The judge characterized the woman's comments as "baloney" and added he should not be wasting "judicial resources on this kind of malarkey." 

The woman said she no longer wanted to have contact with her boyfriend, but declined to file for a final restraining order, which Rivas said he would be "happy to grant."

Rivas said the boyfriend, who he called a "knucklehead," "needs to be brought down a notch." 

The judge then talked to the wife and asked why she was still married to the man, who is a corrections officer.

"I would suggest divorce and take half his pension," Rivas said. The couple had been married for about 11 years and had a 10-year-old daughter. 

The judge then addressed the man, who was present in court but not part of the proceedings between the woman and his wife.

"I wish you were up here," Rivas said, "because I am gunning for you, because you are despicable."

After the wife agreed to turn over the photographs within 24 hours, the judge told the wife, "Your problem is with that knucklehead. But, it's clear that you folks have been involved in a triangle, and kind of like the Bermuda Triangle, it's deadly."

Rivas told the women they have let themselves "get played by this guy. Who I'm not going to call him a man because he does not deserve that title. This homo sapien."

At the end of the court proceeding, Rivas said he was giving "advice" to the woman who took the pictures of herself.

"The only person you should be sending naked pictures to are (sic) to Hugh Hefner," Rivas said. "He will pay you $100,000 for the use of them."

Hefner, who died in September 2017, was founder of Playboy magazine.

In his answer to the complaint, Rivas admitted his remarks were "inappropriate" and "let his feelings about what the (woman) had done, by placing (the wife) in such a humiliating position, influence (his) language, tone and demeanor."

Rivas said his comments "were not motivated by bias or prejudice" and "intemperate and not judicial in word or tone."

Rivas, who received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his law degree from Rutgers, waived a formal hearing before the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.

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