BREAKING

Judge Miguel Camacho Publicly Reprimanded After Court Finds He Sexually Harassed Two Court Employees

Judiciary Published On February 16, 2022 05:06 AM
Ernice Gilbert | February 16, 2022 05:06:45 AM

Former Judge Miguel Camacho, who was reprimanded by the V.I. Judicial Branch after investigations determined he sexually harassed two court employees and violated eight rules of the V.I. Code of Judicial Conduct, is now employed at the Legal Services.

Judge Miguel Camacho, who served up until last year in the V.I. Superior Court on St. Croix, has been publicly reprimanded by the judicial branch of government, led by the V.I. Supreme Court, after internal investigations concluded that he sexually harassed two court staff. The investigations also concluded that Mr. Camacho violated eight rules of the Virgin Islands Model Code of Judicial Conduct.

According to court documents obtained by the Consortium, on March 1, 2021 the Superior Court completed an initial investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of an employee by Mr. Camacho, who as of Wednesday was employed as litigation director at the Legal Services of the Virgin Islands. The findings were then forwarded to the court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC). On March 3, a review or the initial investigation led to the discovery of a second allegation of misconduct. Thereafter on March 5, Presiding Judge Harold Willocks filed a grievance with the ODC on behalf of the two court staff who were allegedly sexually harassed by Mr. Camacho. Following a second investigation, which was completed on April 8, 2021, the ODC issued its report and recommendations to the court's investigative panel on April 21, 2021.

On May 6, the in investigative panel, which agreed with the ODC's recommendations, submitted an order that included, among other items, a request to petition the V.I. Supreme Court for an immediate interim suspension of Mr. Camacho pending final determination. "Additionally, the investigative panel concluded there were reasonable grounds to demonstrate that [Mr. Camacho] had engaged in serious acts of misconduct warranting a full investigation."

The panel specifically concluded that Mr. Camacho had violated the following eight rules of the Virgin Islands Model Code of Judicial Conduct:

  • A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
  • A judge shall comply with the law including the Code of Judicial Conduct.
  • A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
  • A judge shall not abuse the prestige of the judicial office to advance the personal interest of the judge.
  • A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice or engage in harassment, including but not limited to harassment based on race, sex or gender.
  • A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the court.
  • A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to all litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control.
  • A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, except as prohibited by law or [the Code of Judicial Conduct]. However, when engaging in extrajudicial activities, a judge shall not make use of court premies, staff, stationery, equipment or other resources, except for incidental use for activities that concern the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, or unless such additional use is permitted by law.

 

Mr. Camacho on June 4, 2021 was notified by the ODC that the investigative panel had authorized a formal investigation into the allegations. On June 28, Mr. Camacho informed the ODC that he was notified that his position as a member of the judiciary would not be renewed. On June 29, Mr. Camacho agreed to consent and discipline, according to court documents.

On July 12 the Court Commission on Judicial Conduct accepted Mr. Camacho's agreement to consent to public discipline, which includes a public reprimand and Mr. Camacho's consent to complete six credits of Continuing Legal Education, or CLE courses, in addition to his mandatory CLE requirements set forth by the Virgin Islands Bar Association on topics of sexual harassment and misconduct. The CLEs had to be completed within six months of the acceptance of the commission's Notice of Consent to Discipline by the V.I. Supreme Court. Mr. Camacho was ordered to provide proof of completion to demonstrate satisfaction of this requirement, according to court documents.

The V.I. Supreme Court on Jan. 21, 2022 approved the commission's recommendations and directed a public reprimand of Mr. Camacho. The Order of Reprimand reads, "The Commission on Judicial Conduct finds that as a member of the judiciary, [Mr. Camacho] was expected to conduct himself at all times within the dignity of the position he occupied. His conduct against the two employees, and other acts, demonstrated his failure to uphold the aforementioned sections of the Virgin Islands Model Code of Judicial Conduct."

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