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Update: Prison for Judge Turned Pimp

Last September, we told you about the retired New York Supreme Court judge who found an unusual way to keep himself busy in his retirement years -- recruiting prostitutes to service members of the fraternal group the Royal Order of Jesters. At the time, the former judge, Ronald H. Tills, had just pleaded guilty to violating the federal Mann Act by transporting the prostitutes across state lines.

Tills, 74, has nothing to jest about today, given that a federal judge in Buffalo sentenced him Friday to serve 18 months in prison. "I will never forgive myself for the possible harm I've caused to the victims in this case," Tills said in a courtroom statement. "I'm embarrassed, and I feel terrible about the shame I’ve brought to the bench and the bar."

Once a well-respected judge known for tough sentences, Tills was still serving on the bench when he became involved in helping to recruit prostitutes and transport them to Jesters' conventions in Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky and New York. The prostitutes were illegal immigrants who spoke little English, some having been sold into sexual slavery as young women.

The judge who sentenced Tills, U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, called him a "real Jekyll and Hyde" and indicated he had not shown a sufficient degree of remorse. Skretny referred by name to one prostitute, Coco, and admonished Tills for victimizing the most vulnerable subset of illegal aliens, "the undocumented women involved in the sex trade."

Two others involved in the scheme, a former police captain and Tills' former law clerk, were previously sentenced. The captain was given two years probation and the clerk was given four months of home confinement and made to forfeit his motor home, which was used to transport the women. Tills will begin his sentence Oct. 1.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 10, 2009 at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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