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A Michigan judge has announced that he will retire in November, following an investigation of a claim that he sexually harassed a law school intern last year.
Judge Joseph J. Farah, who sits on the bench for Genesse County, Michigan’s Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, was the subject of a complaint from Grace Ketzner, who interned for him in 2021 when she was a third-year law student at Michigan State University. At the time, Farah was also an adjunct professor at the law school.
Michigan State University’s Resolution Office issued a decision in July stating that the evidence shows that more likely than not Farah violated Title IX and MSU’s Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct. The decision, obtained by and reported on by Michigan Radio, noted that Ketzner filed a complaint in December 2021 that made allegations of sexual harassment and stalking. The decision found that the sexual harassment claim was supported by evidence, but not stalking.
Among the allegations were “explicit sexual advances,” including asking her to buy a typist for a novel he was writing about a woman whose older male boss “teaches her how to explore herself” sexually, and reading her “very sexually suggestive” language from the book. She also alleged that Farah would invite her to travel with him or go for lunch or have drinks, and that after she refused he would not speak to her the next day, or in one case, the investigation found, he “retaliated against her by spreading negative feedback about her.”
According to Michigan Radio, Ketzner sought guidance from a professor, none other than Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. Judge Aquilina famously presided over one of the criminal trials for Larry Nassar, the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing women and girls in his care.
Aquilina told the station that she advised Ketzner to report the allegations to Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission. She recalled that “[h]er pain and fear were credible.” She also recalled that Ketzner once told her that Farah was planning on observing her class, which made her “afraid.” Aquilina told her she was excused from class that day.
Farah, who announced his upcoming retirement on Tuesday, denied wrongdoing in a statement to MSU, an excerpt of which was published by Michigan Radio.
“Never in that time did I make sexual overtures. I never intended to make her uncomfortable,” he said in the statement. I was not told by her or her supervisor or anyone else that anything I said made her uncomfortable. Had I been aware I would have apologized, rectified the situation and not repeated any offensive statements. I deny that anything I said was sexually motivated.”
Ultimately, the school’s resolution office found Ketzner to be more credible than Farah.
Ketzner told local ABC12 she wants to continue to pursue justice in her legal career.
“I know type of person I want to be and type of attorney to become — someone who stands up against injustices like this,” she said. “I think it’s happened for way to long.”
A spokesperson for MSU said they could not comment on the matter, but confirmed to Fox News that Farah has not been a faculty member there since May 15, 2021.