WATCH: Former judge Rosenbaum, sued in federal court over sexual acts, says ‘it was always totally consensual’
[anvplayer video=”5046643″ station=”998131″]
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Former New York State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum recorded and released a statement about the allegations against him in a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed July 16, alleges Rosenbaum "compelled" an employee to perform sexual acts in his chambers at the Hall of Justice from 2005 until 2007.
Rosenbaum released a video Wednesday to News10NBC where he admits to a consensual affair and apologizes to his family and co-defendants in the lawsuit. Watch the video in the player above.
WATCH: Matthew Rosenbaum issues statement on lawsuit (mobile users, click here)
[anvplayer video=”5046610″ station=”998131″]
Here is the verbatim of Rosenbaum’s statement:
"More than a decade ago, I wrongly got involved with a woman outside of my marriage. It was not only wrong, it was a stupid thing to do. It was unfair to my wife, to my children, and to those that believed in me. First, to my wife, as I have said, I am sorry beyond my ability to express it in words. The same to my children, the rest of my family, and friends. My wife and family have known about this prior relationship for a while and their having forgiven me is what is allowing us to move forward in our lives and for that, I am eternally grateful. But there is another issue I must confront. That is the untrue allegation that the relationship was anything but consensual. It was always totally consensual. And any attempt to frame it as other than that is both untrue and unfair. I also need to apologize to the other seven parties that have been named in this lawsuit as well. I am sorry that you have been dragged into this matter unfairly. I know and have faith in the judicial system. I trust that an impartial review of all of these allegations will support everything I have said here."
Rosenbaum’s statement does not address specific allegations in the lawsuit, and he has not been made available to answer questions from News10NBC.
On Tuesday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office are investigating Rosenbaum, but did not say what the nature of the criminal investigation is.
The sheriff’s office released the following statement:
“In the spring of 2021, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was notified of possible criminal conduct on the part of former New York State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Rosenbaum. The Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation and we are currently working with the Monroe County District Attorney to complete this in depth process. The investigation is ongoing which limits our ability to comment any further. We appreciate your patience.”
Here is what we reported in our first story on the lawsuit:
A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges Rosenbaum "compelled" his former secretary, the plaintiff, to have sex with him. It also alleges multiple people in multiple entities in the court system discouraged the plaintiff from complaining and or ignored her complaints.
The lawsuit alleges the sexual harassment started when Rosenbaum took office as a supreme court justice in March 2005. On page 7 of the complaint, it says "Defendant Rosenbaum compelled Plaintiff to perform (sex act) upon him on approximately a monthly basis in 2005." The lawsuit says the acts happened in Rosenbaum’s judicial chambers and were "against the will" of the plaintiff.
Several paragraphs later, the lawsuit says Rosenbaum told the plaintiff the act "was part of her job, that he was stressed, and she was required to assist him in relieving his stress." (page 7, paragraph 27) It goes on to say "Rosenbaum also threatened Plaintiff that if she wanted to keep her job she would comply with his demands for oral sex" (page 7, paragraph 28) and, as the plaintiff was in the middle of a divorce, "that if she wanted to retain custody of her minor son, she would comply with his demands for oral sex." (page 7, paragraph 30)
In November 2019, Rosenbaum was re-elected to another 14-year term. However, when he was notified about a complaint to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct in December 2019, Rosenbaum resigned and did not accept the election results.
In an email to News10NBC on July 20, Robert Tembeckjian, chair of the judicial conduct commission, wrote: "The Commission’s mandate is to hold judges accountable for ethical misconduct and ensure in egregious cases that they leave the bench and never return. That is what happened with Judge Rosenbaum. He decided to resign, and we made it permanent. Statutorily, our authority ended at that point, but other agencies may investigate further and take additional action as warranted."
The lawsuit says, "On December 28, 2019, Plaintiff was notified by a representative of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct that Defendant Rosenbaum had agreed to resign from his judicial position, and that the resignation would end any further investigation."
On July 20, I reached Lindy Korn, attorney for the plaintiff. Korn declined to answer specific questions about the lawsuit, but in a brief Zoom conversation, said she and her co-counsel "are very proud to represent a courageous plaintiff such as (the plaintiff) in her effort to hold the system accountable for what happened to her and the complaint speaks for itself."
Korn sent the following response to Rosenbaum’s statement:
"We believe very strongly in judicial process and we believe strongly in our courageous client and the complaint. This case will be tried through the judicial process and through litigation."