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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ex-NY State Supreme Court Judge Gets 18 Months in Sex Case

Ex-Justice Tills given prison term in sex case
Federal judge callswomen real victims
The Buffalo News by Phil Fairbanks and Dan Herbeck - August 8, 2009

Phrases like “human trafficking” and “sex trade” bring to mind tough, brutal images that are hard to believe about anyone. When the accused is a well-respected judge, a jurist known for tough sentences, it becomes what his own attorney acknowledged Friday is a long fall from grace. Ronald H. Tills, 74, a retired State Supreme Court Justice, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday, becoming the first person given jail time in connection with the continuing federal probe of the Royal Order of Jesters. “I will never forgive myself for the possible harm I’ve caused to the victims in this case,” Tills told a packed courtroom. “I’m embarrassed, and I feel terrible about the shame I’ve brought to the bench and the bar.”

In sentencing Tills, U. S. District Judge William M. Skretny referred numerous times to victims in the case and at least twice mentioned one young woman by name. “Coco is a real victim in this case, and regrettably, she’s not the only one,” the judge said at one point. Skretny described Coco as an illegal immigrant who barely spoke English and was sold into sexual slavery as a young woman. Coco, he added, was transported by Tills across state lines to serve as a prostitute at a Jesters convention in Kentucky. The judge admonished Tills for victimizing a member of what he described as the most vulnerable subset of illegal aliens, “the undocumented women involved in the sex trade.” The judge also chastised Tills for engaging in a sexual relationship with a woman who had appeared before him when he was still a judge and then recruiting her to work as a prostitute at a Jesters convention. “I view, and I think society views, this as particularly disgraceful,” Skretny said. He referred to Tills as a “real Jekyll and Hyde” and suggested the former judge and state assemblyman had not shown the level of remorse Skretny would have liked to have seen from him.

Tills pleaded guilty last September to a felony charge of transporting prostitutes across state lines. He also admitted that, while still serving as a state judge, he recruited prostitutes for a number of Jesters weekend outings, known as “books.” “He knows what he did was reprehensible,” said Terrence M. Connors, one of Tills’ lawyers. “He knows he’s disgraced that robe.” Tills’ legal problems began in late 2007 when federal agents found out that a judge and a police captain were among the customers of a Niagara County massage parlor that hired illegal aliens to work as prostitutes. The massage parlor probe— conducted by the Western New York Human Trafficking Task Force — led to an investigation into the Buffalo Jesters chapter and its use of prostitutes. In urging the judge to give Tills 18 months, federal prosecutor John Rogowski told the judge his ruling would affect the public’s view of the judiciary. Rogowski also urged the judge not to be blinded by the emotional aspects of the case and to remember that what Tills did was a serious crime.

Tills will begin his 18-month jail term on Oct. 1 at a federal prison yet to be determined. Two other Jesters — John Trowbridge, 62, a former Lockport police captain, and Michael Stebick, 61, Tills’ former law clerk — were previously sentenced by Skretny. Trowbridge was put on probation for two years. Stebick was given four months of home confinement and had to forfeit his motor home, which was used to transport prostitutes over state lines, to the government.  Connors, in seeking leniency from Skretny, stressed that Tills had helped federal agents with information about prostitution activities involving several other Jesters chapters in other cities. So far, no charges have been filed against anyone outside the Buffalo chapter. “He’s given them inner workings,” Connors said. “This group of sordid individuals, which has done what it’s done for years, has stopped. They’re out of business.”

In May, a national spokesman for the Jesters told The Buffalo News that the presence of prostitutes at Jesters gatherings is something that only the Buffalo chapter engaged in, adding that such conduct is never condoned by the national leadership. The all-male organization — which is a division of the Freemasons— has 191 chapters with 22,000 members, mostly in the United States. The fraternal group’s members have included two U. S. presidents, politicians, entertainment figures and prominent businessmen. Some former Jesters told The News that many Jesters chapters have engaged in wild parties with prostitutes for decades. Tills, who previously served as a member of the State Assembly, was known by colleagues and defense attorneys as one of the region’s toughest sentencing judges before he retired from his job as a state judge in 2005. The human trafficking task force includes investigators from the FBI, U. S. Border Patrol, U. S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and the Erie and Niagara County sheriff’s offices. pfairbanks@buffnews.com and dherbeck@buffnews.com

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have a nice 18 month vacation, judge!

Anonymous said...

so much for morals and integrity.
Prison, a place that is full of people that have an ax to grind with lawyers and judges.
Have a good time your Honor

Anonymous said...

Tills was a long time, well known female harasser and work place flirt targeting court employees...in the 8th judicial district.
Tills often made remarks and conducted his untoward behavior , esp against the minority female employees...and it is a definite wonder how many employees are suffering because of him and remain silent...because OCA condemns and destroys any woman who addresses sexual misconduct by the judiciary...especially in the 8th district..infamous for their intense and massive destruction of female employees who speak out against their abuse!
It is the only hope for female workers, court users and female citizens...that someone like Judge Skretny continues to be cognizant that the judiciary of the state of NY has the power and sexual means of abuse over women in this area.... and they often flirt with the danger of abusing such power against THESE women ...and he appears to be the rare salvation of accountability for said criminal activity.
Congratulations to Judge Skretny for his message and stand against a crime that the black robes find too convenient way too often!

Anonymous said...

Judge Tills shouldn't be concerned about any "shame" he's brought to the bench and the bar because the view of the bench and the bar couldn't be worse these days. No respect earned, and none given. Till's actions show what the New York legal system is- a whore house full of two faced, sex driven, idiots who disregard the law for their own personal gain and pleasure. Rot in prison, schmuck.

nudity in the court said...

Let me make sure I understand this. New York Supreme Court Judge Tills was banging some chick who was appearing before him in a court of law- he was the judge and she was a defendant.

Damn, how do I become a judge?

Anonymous said...

I had heard that folks got screwed in court, but I didn't think it was literal

disgusted said...

How'd this egomaniac become a judge in the first place?!?!

Anonymous said...

he must live in Niagara County
can be full of dirty little towns
with dirty little people.....
if you can harbor prostitutes right outside the court house,
it does make you wonder what is inside!

Anonymous said...

jokers jesters and child molesters!

Anonymous said...

brings a whole new meaning to
Here comes the judge!

rot in hell you basterds!

Eliot Bernstein said...

The sentence is way light but he will be the butt of the prison and raped repeatedly, sad thing is I think he will enjoy it. Note the relation to the Freemasons cult, this is very much what our leaders are into in these secret clubs for pervs and child molesting wife cheating scum, dressed up as our government. Oh yeah, perhaps Spitzer was in on this rape of children, probably how he got his job on Morning Joe Murderer on MSNBC. I do know that WORD is that torturing done overseas was for sick ritualistic cult sex films by the Gang of Bush, so child rapping does not seem beyond them.
Try them - Fry Them - To Hell they Go.
Bat Out of Hell

Anonymous said...

good thought mentioning Spitzer since Niagara County housed 2 homes for prostitues(1 right outside the courthouse steps) and 1 more not far away......and he happened to be great friend with Belien our ex
Sheriff.........
thank the Lord there just now happens to be a new meaning to oral aguement for a judge!
hopefully they get the rest of the scum destroying our county!

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