Judge faces backlash for saying 12-year-old rape victim didn’t suffer

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MONROE TOWNSHIP -

Some New Jersey lawmakers are calling for the removal of a Middlesex County Superior Court judge for comments she made about a young rape victim.

Judge Marcia Silva said that a 12-year-old rape victim did not suffer “especially serious harm.” Silva refused to charge a 16-year-old boy accused of the crime as an adult, saying “…the offense is not an especially heinous or cruel offense…”

“I'm shocked and I don't use those words lightly. I really am shocked by the comments that were made,” says state Sen. Linda Greenstein.

Greenstein and at least three other state lawmakers are calling for Silva to be removed from her position and for an investigation.

“Any kind of sexual act perpetrated on a 12-year-old has to be a heinous act,” Greenstein says.

Silva wrote in her August 2018 ruling, "...the victim did not suffer any physical or emotional injuries as a result, other than the ramifications of losing her virginity, which the court does not find to be especially serious harm in this case."

“The [12-year-old] clearly will be scarred for life as a result of that type of behavior. And the judge didn't seem at all to understand how serious that problem is,” says Greenstein. “So that to me is a judge who should not be sitting in the state of New Jersey or any state and should be removed from the bench.”

The appellate division reversed Silva's decision last month. The controversy comes on the heels of a Monmouth County judge who declined to charge another teen as an adult because he said the boy comes from a "good family."

“I think we have to dig deep and find out how much training these judges are being given. Are they able to properly handle these cases so they understand the legal and other standards that they have to apply? I'm getting the impression that they don't,” the senator says.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Silva for comment. A spokesman for the state judiciary responded that judges are not allowed to make statements on pending cases.

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