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A Shrewsbury-area district judge was charged Friday over allegations that he groped a woman who appeared in his courtroom earlier this year.

District Judge Jeffrey Scott Joy, 50, of 13 S. 4th St. in New Freedom, faces charges of official oppression, indecent assault and two counts of harassment, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office announced.

The charges stem from an incident in which a 31-year-old woman said Joy groped her backside and her breast when the two were in her Glen Rock apartment in March, according to Joy's charging documents.

During interviews with state police, Joy contented the woman seduced him and gave him permission to touch her, Joy's charging documents state.

"The allegations that have been made against Judge Jeff Joy, which are now the sole basis for the misdemeanor criminal offenses that have been filed today, are simply not true," Joy's attorney, Chris Ferro, wrote in an emailed statement. "These false accusations are without merit and we look forward to addressing the charges in court."

Joy was removed from the bench until further notice.

Allegations: The woman, referred to only as M.C. in charging documents, reported the alleged groping incident to state police in March.

She told investigators that she had been in Joy's 165 Fairview Court courtroom in Shrewsbury Township in February for a hearing for her boyfriend.

After the hearing, M.C. told Joy of suspected child abuse in the Glen Rock apartment building where she lived.

That same day, Joy drove to the apartment building, where he met the woman outside and eventually went up to her apartment under the guise that he wanted to confirmed the suspected abuse and he stayed for 20 to 30 minutes, documents state.

Prior to leaving, Joy asked M.C. if she needed money for food or rent and also commented that she has a nice body, documents state.

On March 4, Joy called the woman, who is an artist, from his office, telling her she should contact Southern Regional Police about the suspected abuse. He again asked about her finances. Joy then asked if he could come to her apartment to buy a piece of her art, documents state.

Incident: About 4:15 p.m. on the day of the phone call, Joy went to the woman's apartment, where she showed him artwork. He repeatedly asked if she had any self portraits, documents state.

M.C. told Joy she didn't, but she did have drawings of pinup girls that looked like her. One drawing showed a girl, who was wearing stockings, posed in a sexually suggestive way and M.C. told Joy she has a similar pair of stockings, documents state.

Joy asked her to put them on. Though she initially declined, M.C. feared her boyfriend could face a harsher punishment. So she went to her bedroom, closed the door, and started to undress, documents state.

Joy opened the door as she was putting on the stockings, causing her to cover her body. Joy groped her backside and breast, then offered her $150 to take off her shirt so he could see her tattoos, documents state.

M.C. refused, but Joy pulled up her shirt and licked her breast. She then ran from the room and opened the front door, and Joy left, documents state.

She then went to state police about the incident.

Two Southern Regional Police officials told investigators Joy notified them about the suspected child abuse in the woman's apartment building but he never told them that he had been to her apartment, documents state.

Joy's side: During interviews with state police, Joy, who was "evasive and deceptive," gave different versions of the events, his charging documents state.

In the one version, Joy said M.C. invited him to her bedroom, where she took off her shirt. Though Joy, who was married when he was elected district judge, knew "this isn't good," he stayed a couple more minutes, documents state.

"I wish I wouldn't have went (sic). Let's put it that way, but nothing happened. No crime was committed. I shouldn't even have gotten involved and been there," Joy told police, documents state.

During further questioning, Joy said he was in another room as the woman was in the bedroom, but the two were talking. Joy said he was unable to hear her and walked to the bedroom, the door to which was open, and he saw her putting on stockings. She then took off her shirt and he asked, "Okay to touch?"

M.C. gave the go-ahead, and Joy touched her breast, documents state.

In another version, Joy said he "may have kissed her breast."

Joy also refuted that he offered the woman $150 to removed her clothing, saying he only had a few dollars with him, documents state.

The trooper noted in the charging documents that Joy initially went to the woman's apartment to buy artwork.

Attorneys: Ferro said his client deserves the benefit of the presumption of innocence.

"This is a difficult time for Judge Joy and his family. He can only hope that those who truly know him will reserve final judgment and give him the benefit of the doubt as he moves forward and defends against these false accusations," Ferro said.

Attorney Suzanne Smith, who was contacted by an acquaintance to assist M.C. through the criminal process, said the allegations against Joy will hold up in court.

"We believe the charges the (Attorney General's) Office tiled are appropriate," she said.

A preliminary hearing for Joy will be held Friday, Aug. 28 at 8 a.m. before Senior District Judge John Zepp, 2997 Cape Horn Road in Windsor Township.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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