Probate judge resigns in wake of SJC suspension

Sushchyk groped court employee, lied about it

PROBATE AND FAMILY Court Judge Paul Sushchyk resigned on Monday, five days after the Supreme Judicial Court suspended him without pay for groping a court employee and lying about it. 

Sushchyk’s decision to resign eliminates the need for what could have been a drawn-out process of having the Legislature move forward with an impeachment trial or having the governor and Legislature attempt to remove him through a “bill of address,” which would require support from the House, Senate, governor, and Governor’s Council. 

Sushchyk submitted a one-sentence resignation letter to Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, effective immediately. “Please be advised that, effective March 28, 2022, I hereby resign my office as an Associate Justice of the Probate and Family Court,” he wrote. 

Sushchyk, a Sterling resident, was appointed as a Probate and Family Court judge by Baker in February 2018. In April 2019, a female court employee accused Sushchyk of coming up behind her in a restaurant while they were both attending a court-related conference and grabbing her butt. Sushchyk first denied the allegations, then said he touched her unintentionally. 

The Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated and concluded that Sushchyk engaged “in an intentional, nonconsensual, and unwelcome touching” of the woman, then “generated a statement he knew to be false.”  

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Shira Schoenberg

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About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

The SJC last Wednesday issued a unanimous decision suspending Sushchyk without pay, and the justices wrote that they wanted to give the Legislature and governor time to decide whether to remove Sushchyk. A Baker spokesperson at the time called the allegations “deeply troubling.” 

Judiciary Committee co-chairs Rep. Michael Day and Sen. Jamie Eldridge declined to comment.