This week on Massachusetts ‘Judges Gone Wild’ …
Not all Massachusetts judges are corrupt and/or sleazy, it’s just that 98% of them who give such a bad rap to the 2% who are on the level.
Before today’s parental-discretion-advised episode of “Judges Gone Wild,” we begin with the usual disclaimer: Not all Massachusetts judges are corrupt and/or sleazy, it’s just that 98% of them who give such a bad rap to the 2% who are on the level.
C’mon down, extinguished jurist Paul M. Sushchyk, the reprobate probate court judge from (where else?) Worcester County.
The state’s top court ruled this week that the $184,694-a-year judge grabbed the rear end of a $128,043-a-year court “field coordinator” at a bar on Cape Cod.
This occurred in April 2019. The judge was shortly thereafter relieved of duties, but until last week was still collecting his full pay — an almost three-year-long paid vacation, in other words.
Of course, since the Panic began two years ago, most of the judiciary has likewise been on a more-or-less permanent sabbatical from … work. It’s a public health issue, you know.
Follow the science.
But even if there hadn’t been a system-wide two-year vacation, Sushchyk most likely would still gotten his all-expenses-paid siesta. This is how it works in Massachusetts — if you’re a hack judge, you can even be accused of felonies and keep getting paid.
Just ask District Court Judge Shelley Joseph, a former member of the Democrat State Committee. She was indicted on a federal criminal rap in 2019 for letting an illegal immigrant Dominican drug dealer escape from her courtroom out a back door because … professional courtesy.
Like Sushchyk, the corrupt Joseph was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
According to public records, Sushchyk’s tawdry all-hands-on-deck behavior occurred at the very posh Ocean’s Edge Resort and Golf Club in Brewster during a judicial “conference,” i.e., yet another all-expenses paid vacation at a four-star resort during the work week.
The judge and his victim were in the Bayzo’s Pub after dinner. The woman was sitting with three of her female coworkers. According to state payroll records, one of them makes $141,013 a year, another $133,214, and the third has since retired with a pension of $87,109, while still being paid by the hackerama on a per-diem basis, collecting $12,775 so far this year.
I mention all this money just to show the leisure-class nature of the soiree. This was not some biker bar in Hudson.
The victim was at a high-top table, sitting on a raised stool. As the judge reeled by, well, as the woman texted her sister moments later, “OMG. I think one of the judges grabbed my butt on purpose.”
She later elaborated, “The grab lasted a few seconds and felt like it was made using a full hand.”
One of the witnesses said the judge then pulled out a silver flask and swigged down a belt of whiskey. The judge denied that he was carrying a foreign load – he only had one drink, a Jameson and water.
The next day, the victim followed up with another text, repeating that the judge “palmed my butt. Kinda thought maybe it was a mistake until today he spent the day hovering uncomfortably around me.”
Sushchyk gave his first account on May 20, 2019:
“I was somewhat unsteady on my feet, feeling the effects of past hip replacement surgery, the long day (I had driven to Brewster that morning from Sterling), the evening meal and the alcohol consumed … As I began to pass by (redacted), to steady myself, I placed my hand in the direction of her chair and came into momentary contact with a portion of her lower body …”
In that interview, Sushchyk said that he “had a serious health condition, which required surgery five years prior and (said) that it was embarrassing but one of the side effects of the surgery was that he had no sexual drive.”
So the judge initially copped to copping the feel, but later he changed his story. That’s a bad look, even if you’re a Massachusetts judge, of whom next to nothing is expected in the way of honesty and integrity.
Sushchyk is now 66. He was angling for early retirement as far back as 2005, when he gave $500 to then-Gov. Mitt Romney. When Willard decided not to seek reelection, Sushchyk started taking care of his would-be successor, Lt. Gov. Kerry “Muffy” Healey.
He handed Muffy $500 in November 2005 and then $150 to her running mate, Reed Hillman, just before the 2006 election.
After the Republicans lost, the wannabe judge effortlessly switched to contributing to Democrats who might make him a millionaire — $50 to Lt. Gov. Tim “Crash” Murray, a fellow Worcester hack, in 2012.
Then the Republicans got back in and Sushchyk flipped back to the party now passing out free money in the form of hack judgeships.
In February 2016, according to state campaign-finance records, the future judge duked $500 to Gov. Charlie Baker, and another $500 to his neighbor and fellow hack, Lt. Gov. Karyn “Pay to Play” Polito.
In January 2018, that modest $1,000 investment paid off bigger than a lottery hit. He was nominated for early retirement!
In his official press release, Baker announced that “I am confident his demeanor and work ethic will serve the court well.”
Except when he’s overserved, apparently.
Polito chimed in, “Paul Sushchyk has dedicated his career to helping others.”
Especially politicians who could appoint him to a $184,000-a-year, no-heavy-lifting lifetime vacation as a judge.
So now, after his almost three years of all-expenses-paid vacation, Sushchyk finally gets thrown off the dole, suspended without pay.
But something will be worked out — count on it. He’s already laid the groundwork for his “disability,” and as an ex-cop (NH State Police, Sterling PD), I can see other options available for him. Think PTSD.
If all else fails, he can throw himself on the mercy of the governor and ask for one of those phony-baloney judicial retirements that have to be approved by the Governor’s Council.
I can hear the hack judge’s pitch to Charlie now:
“Governor, anyone can be accused of groping a woman after a few drinks … Just ask your son.”