Traffic court judge accused of showing lewd photo to employee
The attorney representing Traffic Court Judge Willie Singletary, who allegedly showed a photo of his genitals to a female employee, said he does not know why Singletary has been barred from entering the Traffic Court’s building on Spring Garden Street.
“I know what the rumors are,” said attorney William J. Brennan. “But, unlike a criminal case or civil case where they must serve a complaint … the administrative judges served certain memoranda on Judge Singletary and the memoranda tell him what he can and can’t do. But, we’ve seen no documentation indicating the basis for this action.”
According to reports published earlier this week, Singletary was ordered by Administrative Judge Gary S. Glazer to stay away from court after he showed photos of his genitalia to a female employee.
Brennan acknowledged that Singletary had been barred from the Traffic Court building. He declined to discuss the published allegation.
“I would be very foolish to comment on rumor or innuendo,” Brennan said. “If and when a complaint is filed I will respond accordingly.”
Sheriff’s deputies escorted Singletary from the building Dec. 22 after Glazer relieved him of his judicial duties. Brennan said Singletary is staying away from court while he reviews his options.
According to published reports, Singletary last week showed a photo of his penis to a female information technology worker. She reportedly filed a sexual-harassment complaint, which Singletary allegedly tried to block by confronting her in an attempt to force her to withdraw it.
Singletary can only be removed by the state Supreme Court or the Court of Judicial Discipline, so he remains an elected judge and continues to collect his $85,000 annual salary.
“He is still an elected judge,” said Brennan.
Glazer has recommended that the Supreme Court suspend Singletary and a complaint has been filed with the Court of Judicial Discipline.
Singletary’s suspension was Glazer’s first public act as administrative judge. Supreme Court Justice Ronald D. Castille appointed Glazer last week to oversee Traffic Court operations as the state Supreme Court conducts an investigation into allegations of widespread corruption. The FBI is also investigating the court, looking into allegations that judges took bribes or accepted political favors for fixing tickets.
Singletary, 29, has been a controversial figure even before he was elected to traffic court, a seat he won in 2007. During his run, he was filmed at a campaign rally suggesting that campaign contributors would get special treatment when he was elected.
He received a reprimand from the state Court of Judicial Discipline for his remarks. But, the judges noted, in their 2009 censure, that he was not a lawyer, and had not been an elected judge when he made the comments.
Before that, he came under scrutiny because he owed approximately $11,500 for dozens of unpaid traffic tickets. The mass of violations led to the suspension of his driver’s license, which was restored just this year.
A Navy veteran, Singletary is also a pastor and established the City of Refuge Church in West Philadelphia. He served in the Persian Gulf during the invasion of Afghanistan.
The charges against Singletary are unrelated to the FBI investigation into allegations of longstanding and widespread corruption in traffic court that has so far drawn scrutiny of three court officials: Sullivan, former traffic court Judge Fortunato Perri and former director of operations William Hird.