The Rhode Island Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline will hold a public hearing next month on a number of sexual harassment and judicial misconduct complaints against a district court judge.
The Providence Journal reports more than 50 witnesses are expected to testify on charges alleging Judge Rafael Ovalles persistently mistreated court staff, lawyers and the public and degraded women. The proceedings are set to start Jan. 23 and are expected to last three weeks.
The commission will make a recommendation to the state Supreme Court after the hearing.
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District Court Chief Judge Jeanne LaFazia has excused 52-year-old Ovalles from all judicial duties with pay pending the hearing.
Ovalles has denied the allegations and argues the complaints were lodged against him in retaliation.