Genesee Co. judge relieved from in-person duties following misconduct investigation

A Genesee County judge has been relieved from his in-person docket amid sexual harassment allegations.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 3:18 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - A Genesee County judge has been relieved from his in-person docket amid sexual harassment allegations.

The Genesee County 7th Circuit Court made the announcement about Judge Joseph Farah on Aug. 12. The decision was effective at 12 p.m. that day.

The court said they received a complaint from a former intern of Farah’s about misconduct in September 2021. The court started an investigation and in November 2021, their results were given to the State Court Administrative Office.

Their office referred the investigation to the Judicial Tenure Commission.

Farah gave his retirement notice to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, effective Nov. 9.

On Friday, the court announced Farah has been relieved of his in-person docket and will work remotely until his November retirement. The decision was made after consulting with the State Court Administrative Office.

“Until a new judge is appointed, the court will continue its efforts to provide judicial resources for all other matters that are pending before Judge Farah,” Chief Judge Pro Tem Elizabeth Kelly said.

Grace Ketzner alleged misconduct by Farah while she was an intern for him at Michigan State University.

Farah is no longer employed at MSU. Ketzner says she also filed a complaint with the Judicial Tenure Commission.

“They’ve been doing their own investigation. We are not privy to all of the information, but I did know that they were in negotiations with him to see if they could come to a resolution,” Ketzner previously said. “I received a phone call from one of the staff attorneys there [Tuesday] afternoon and she said that none of us would have to testify which I know is very good for for everyone. And that they had secured his resignation.”

The Judicial Tenure Commission said it has no information to share regarding Farah and it’s exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.

On Aug. 12, Ketzner issued the following statement:

“I believe the change we witnessed today is a direct result of allowing the public to peek behind the curtain that Farah was being protected by. This is exactly why the reporting process and JTC investigations should involve transparency. I am proud to have played a part in informing the public of his behaviors and real reasons for resignation.”

A day after Farah submitted his resignation to Whitmer, one woman who had a sexual assault case tried in front of Farah is asking for all sexual misconduct cases he has ruled on be reviewed.

Kristen Trevarrow was 15-years-old when the case against the man she says assaulted her went in front of Farah.

She said after having a trial, the defense saw there was a potential of a conviction, so the defendant pleaded no contest.

Farah sentenced him to probation.

Trevarrow has questions about her case from 20 years ago.

“If this man potentially was soft on sex offenders, and you know, people who committed sexual harm to other people because he sympathized or empathize with what they were like, that’s not okay,” Trevarrow said.