Top state judge at historic swearing-in: "I should ask her if she's still a woman"

January 10, 2019 05:54 PM

We want to show you what the top state judge in our community said prior to the swearing-in of the first woman elected as an Ontario County Court judge on December 29.

This was brought to my attention by people concerned by what was said.  

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The person speaking is Judge Craig Doran. He's the administrative judge for the 7th judicial district which includes six counties from Lake Ontario down to Pennsylvania. In the video, he's talking just prior to the swearing-in of Kristina Karle who is seen sitting next to Judge Doran. 

We're are showing you the entire comment. It was recorded by our news partners at the Messenger Post Media. It runs 52 seconds. The people concerned by the comment they heard want to bring your attention to what Judge Doran said after the applause which is indicated in the verbatim of the comment here:

Judge Craig Doran, Administrative Judge 7th Judicial District: "As we all know for the first time we are swearing in today the first woman judge, county-wide woman judge in this county. And that is a great reason to celebrate. (applause) Although it is 2019 almost. I should ask her if she's still a woman. No one is taping this right? Wait is this live? I'm trying to set the bar here. Kitty said she's nervous. I'm trying to loosen her up a bit."

Click here to watch the entire speech by Judge Doran on Facebook, including his embrace with Judge Karle. 

I contacted Judge Doran this week on the phone and I asked him for a comment. He contacted the New York State Court Administration in New York City and asked the state to send me a statement on his behalf. 

"Words do matter. Judge Doran's remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Kristina Karle were intended to celebrate the election of the first female judge to the Ontario County Court bench. He was referring to the fact that it is 2019 and, finally, this historic event has happened. He is deeply troubled and remorseful that those words have caused offense and apologizes to anyone who was offended by those remarks and regrets that those words may have taken away from the celebration of this occasion."

Here is the statement from the Out-Alliance which advocates for the LGBTQ community. 

"Upon reviewing the statements made by Judge Doran at the recent swearing in ceremony of Judge Kristina Karle in regards to gender identity we once again remind both him and the community that words have tremendous power. What we say has the power to uplift or to destroy, even when made in jest. Judge Doran has been a great friend of the agency and it is our hope that this was a simple lapse of judgment. We would be happy to offer him education in regards to gender identity, sexual expression, proper use of pronouns, and the oppressive environments that can be created when we don't make our spaces safe for everyone. In 2018, there were 27 documented homicides of transgender individuals in the United States with countless more going misidentified and hundreds more world wide. We honor each of their memories and show respect to their peers by making it clear that we support their right to life and humane treatment and proper use of pronouns."    

I asked Judge Karle for a comment. She declined. She was elected to a 10 year term. 

Judge Doran was most recently re-elected in 2015. 


Berkeley Brean

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