South Australian Magistrate Simon Milazzo dismissed for sexual harassment

A South Australian magistrate has been removed from office for sexually harassing four women who worked with him.

A report from a judicial conduct committee tabled in the state legislature today found he had engaged in inappropriate conduct with a sexual undertone regarding women for a number of years.

Attorney General Kyam Maher told the upper house of state parliament that Simon Milazzo was removed from office today after several inquiries.

Mr Milazzo, 68, has been suspended with pay since the allegations came to light last year.

Mr Maher said a panel including a former judge and a prominent doctor found his actions were not in line with his position and his removal was justified.

He said the women involved were all in a subordinate position to the magistrate at the time.

“From when the first complaint was filed to now, it was complex and long,” Maher said.

“I have no doubt that the process has been difficult for complainants and witnesses.

“Their courage and perseverance throughout this process deserves recognition.”

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal said she was “very sorry” that the women “have been wronged by the conduct of a magistrate of this court”.

“Although I haven’t met all of the victims yet, I would love to listen and learn from what they have to say, should they wish to talk to me,” she said.

Chief Justice Chris Kourakis said: “Bullying, harassment, discrimination or victimization of any kind cannot be tolerated.”

Complaints detailed in the report

The first woman whose complaint is detailed in the report said Mr Milazzo made remarks that she was a lesbian and should be with a man.

Another woman said Mr Milazzo approached her from behind and told her to “confess your sins to me”.

He also asked if his partner could “satisfy” her despite her large size.

A third woman said Mr Milazzo sat on her “knee and thigh and touched her left shoulder and neck as if to massage it”.

An IT support worker said Mr Milazzo wanted her to come to his house, while a cleaner said Mr Milazzo “shone it” and would comment on her boobs.

The panel said the behavior was “not in line with the magistrate’s duty to uphold the status and reputation of the judiciary”.

“This is precisely the type of conduct that a reasonable and impartial member of the public would perceive as likely to diminish public trust and respect for the judicial office,” he said.

He said Mr Milazzo “expressed no sincere remorse regarding the three most serious allegations and in fact categorically denied any improper conduct in the form of sexual harassment with respect to any of these witnesses”.

He said his withdrawal was justified.

Mr Milazzo was diagnosed with autism after being suspended, but the panel decided that did not lessen his level of responsibility.

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