The following is a statement from Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch:

"As a Coconino County Superior Court judge, it is my responsibility to ensure that all victims and defendants are treated fairly and in a respectful manner in the courtroom. It's a responsibility I take very seriously. I also believe victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes.

"In a recent case, my in-court comments to the victim at sentencing did not further these important tenets. My comments were poorly communicated and for that, I am truly sorry if they caused the victim further distress.

"I apologize to the victim for any additional anguish my comments may have caused. It was never my intention to make a situation worse for any victim. I have learned an important lesson and will apply what I have learned to future cases, to ensure that the rights and views of all victims are heard and respected."

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