The Montgomery County judge who evoked outrage for suggesting that an 11-year-old girl was partly to blame for being sexually molested apologized yesterday for saying that "it takes two to tango."
"I regret if these words have caused concern and confusion over the seriousness and gravity with which I treated this matter," said Circuit Court Judge Durke G. Thompson. The "tango" comment came Tuesday as the judge sentenced Vladimir Chacon-Bonilla, 23, of Alexandria, to serve 18 months in jail for a second-degree sex offense.
In another development, the county's National Organization for Women chapter said yesterday that it has asked the state commission on Judicial Disabilities to investigate the judge's previous cases, and said it believes he should be dismissed.
The judge said in a statement yesterday that he was removing himself from the case, freeing himself to comment on it. He said the sentence, which has been called too lenient, actually exceeded the recommendation of the parole and probation department.
Prosecutors said the girl told police that she had sex in her bedroom with Chacon-Bonilla, whom she met on the Internet. In his plea, the man admitted only to performing oral sex on her.
In his statement, the judge said "it takes two to tango" was an effort to distinguish the case from one in which a home is invaded.
"Given the opportunity," he said,"I would not again use the terminology. But in every other respect, the sentence I imposed was fair, proportionate and correct for this case."
After Tuesday's hearing, State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said the sentence was "more appropriate for a shoplifter" and that saying the girl was partly to blame was inappropriate. In his statement, the judge said Gansler had quoted him out of context and failed to note the parole office recommendation.