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Published June 24, 2013, 02:38 PM

Court reporter says Cass County Judge Corwin pushed for affair after being rebuffed

A court reporter testified this morning before a panel convened by the North Dakota Judicial Conduct Commission that Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin pestered her for a sexual relationship and tried to make her quit her job after she rebuffed his advances.

By: Dave Olson, Forum News Service

FARGO – A court reporter testified this morning before a panel convened by the North Dakota Judicial Conduct Commission that Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin pestered her for a sexual relationship and tried to make her quit her job after she rebuffed his advances.

Ron McLean, an attorney representing Corwin, said during opening arguments of the hearing that Corwin has apologized for comments he made to the woman that were undignified, but McLean maintained Corwin did not speak to her in terms that were sexual in nature.

McLean said Corwin tried to repair a work relationship that had become tense after the judge and the court reporter had drinks after work and went for a bike ride together one evening, but McLean said Corwin never threatened to make the woman’s work environment uncomfortable.

“All of her fears and misperceptions are her own thoughts,” McLean said of the court reporter, who The Forum is not naming because she did not bring forth the allegations.

They were uncovered during an investigation into her job performance, prompted by Corwin’s complaints in a performance review.

Cass County District Court Judge Wade Webb testified that in spring 2011 he noticed the court reporter appeared troubled by something, but at first wouldn’t share with him what was bothering her when he asked her about it.

He said as months went by and he made repeated attempts to determine what was troubling her, the court reporter eventually told him that Corwin was bothering her but she didn’t want to go into details.

Webb said even though the court reporter’s enjoyment of her work seemed to be suffering, she always went about her job in a diligent, courteous and professional manner.

“A good employee,” he said.

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