York County judge faces charges after sexual misconduct allegations

York

YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A York County Judge is facing charges after allegations of sexual misconduct from his staff, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board announced on Monday.

The board filed charges against Magisterial District Judge John H. Fishel for his alleged lewd comments and inappropriate physical contact.

In a complaint filed Monday, Fishel is accused of violating the Rules of Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges and the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The allegations date back to 2014. Documents show that Fishel engaged in inappropriate physical contact with court staff, including sitting on the lap of a staff member and appearing to threaten to touch a staff member who did not want to be touched.  

Fishel was also alleged to have had inappropriate conversations about sex with court staff on several occasions and repeatedly used vulgar and profane language.  

In a letter sent to Fishel, the board determined that there “is probable cause to file formal charges against [him].”

One of the charges against Fishel stated that he “failed to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary and failed to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety when he engaged in inappropriate physical contact with his court staff and participated in, and permitted his court staff to participate in, inappropriate communication in the court office.”

Fishel offered abc27 the following statement when asked about his charges:

“I couldn’t be more embarrassed and apologetic for the inappropriate behavior between the staff and myself, all of which occurred outside the Courtroom and ended last fall before I reported it to the Judicial Conduct Board. I was certainly raised better than this, and I’m sorry I let my family and community down. Before reporting the conduct to the Board, I acquired training for the staff and myself to resolve the issue, and I felt I did the right thing by taking responsibility and accountability for the problem when reporting it to them last October. I’ll continue to do what is needed of me to ensure everyone the circumstances in the complaint have been resolved. Throughout the years, I have encountered people who made mistakes. I can only hope and pray the people in our community trust and have faith that I have corrected mine.”

Fishel has been a Magisterial district judge in York County since 2009.

The case will head to trial before the Court of Judicial Discipline. He has 30 days to formally respond. His punishment could range from a public reprimand all the way up to removal from office.

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