- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 2, 2000

A local chapter of the National Organization for Women will meet this week with a state investigator in their complaint against the Maryland judge who suggested last month that a preteen girl was partly to blame for being sexually molested.

And the state legislature's women's caucus in a meeting today will likely also file a complaint against Circuit Judge Durke G. Thompson. The judge angered child advocates and prosecutors when he said it "takes two to tango" as he sentenced Vladimir Chacon-Bonilla, 24, to 18 months in jail and three years probation for a second-degree sex offense with the girl, 11.

"If this is the type of treatment we can be subject to, then we need to speak out about it," said Colleen Dermody, NOW's Maryland chapter president. "It's particularly troubling when a person is in a position of authority making decisions about people's lives.

"It's up to groups like ours to point that out in a civil society," she said.

The Montgomery County, Md., chapter of NOW filed a complaint last month with the state Commission on Judicial Disabilities to investigate the judge's previous cases and see whether they warrant his removal from the bench.

"You could expect we will vote in favor of sending a letter to the Judicial Disabilities Commission, requesting an investigation," said Delegate Sharon Grosfeld, a women's caucus member also on the House Judiciary Committee.

Judge Thompson retreated from some of his language in an interview with The Washington Times last month but made no apologies for what he said during the sentencing.

The judge's comments have caused many in the community and the legislature to seek an examination of his previous opinions on victims' and women's issues.

"We, as representatives of the people, are being asked by the public to make this request," Mrs. Grosfeld said. "They're clearly asking that some official action be taken [by the legislature]."

There are 55 female legislators in the General Assembly, 44 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Mrs. Grosfeld and Delegate Sharon Kagan, both Montgomery County Democrats, said they have received many calls and letters from constituents, victims' rights groups and practicing lawyers, who have all had problems with Judge Thompson.

"A number of colleagues of mine, both male and female, have expressed concern about whether there is a pattern of inappropriate comments and behavior from this judge," Miss Kagan said.

Miss Kagan will ask the caucus to investigate the judge and said she expects many of his opponents to attend today.

"The women's caucus has a history and a responsibility to stand up for women's and children's issues," Miss Kagan said.

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