Judge Hatch apologizes to victim

2012-09-07T20:00:00Z 2012-09-07T20:06:35Z Judge Hatch apologizes to victimBy ERIC BETZ Sun staff reporter Arizona Daily Sun
September 07, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

Judge Jacqueline Hatch issued a statement apologizing for comments she made to a victim of sexual abuse before sentencing an officer who groped the victim at a Flagstaff bar.

“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,” Hatch wrote in the statement. “It’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I also believe victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes.”

Hatch was widely criticized for comments that many took as blaming the victim for being in the bar. The victim and others present in the courtroom Wednesday said the remarks were inappropriate and likely to discourage other victims from coming forward to report sexual crimes. 

In an interview with the Daily Sun Thursday, the victim called for Hatch to apologize.

Before issuing her sentence, the judge said she hoped both the victim and the defendant learned a lesson from the case.

She said bad things can happen in bars and warned that women needed to be vigilant against becoming victims. “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened,” Hatch said.

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch later said her mother used to say.

The victim accepted Hatch’s apology Friday.

“I genuinely appreciate Judge Hatch’s apology,” the victim said. “I sincerely hope moving forward, on a global level, there is a deeper understanding of how it feels to be a victim and what a difficult role it is to carry out. The initial comments made to me in the courtroom were unnecessary, and I appreciate her for acknowledging that.”

The victim said she was thankful for the overwhelming public support that had surfaced for her since the sentencing.

“My heart is absolutely elated to know how many wonderful, empathetic people there are in our community,” the victim said. “Thank you all, I am absolutely honored by the love and support behind me.”

The story went viral Friday before Hatch apologized, with national news organizations reporting on the comments and bloggers harshly criticizing them. An online petition calling for the judge’s resignation was approaching 10,000 signatures Friday.

The petition, which features signatures from people all over the country, stated Hatch should “step down before overseeing another sexual assault case.”

The comments also prompted the Coconino County Attorney, local victim advocates and other officials to reiterate their support for victims who report crimes and placing the blame solely on the offender.

“I apologize to the victim for any additional anguish my comments may have caused,” the judge wrote in her statement. “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.”

She said her comments in court were “poorly communicated.”

The judge did not respond to requests for interviews.

Eric Betz can be reached at 556-2250 or ebetz@azdailysun.com.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(28) Comments

  1. Jill
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    Jill - December 12, 2012 5:03 pm
    And now, Her Honor should apologize to the people of Arizona for letting a felony sex-offender go unpunished without jail time, despite jury sentencing. Next time Gov. Brewer prattles on and on about imagined crimes in the AZ desert, or spouts a bunch of rhetoric about how she's tough on crime, remember her appointee, Judge Jacqueline Hatch.
  2. babybaby
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    babybaby - November 24, 2012 10:30 am
    Think First: Your comment reminds me of Chinese leaders reacting to Western criticism of Chinese human rights abuses by saying we should "stay out of China's internal affairs". Any human can petition against abuse: if doing so has no immediate legal force, it does have moral force.

    Think first, but think carefully. Human rights is a concern of the human race. Recommended reading: http://web.cs.dal.ca/~johnston/poetry/island.html
  3. Brian
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    Brian - September 10, 2012 5:21 pm
    FWIW: The Green Room is posted for no guns. Therefore if she had a gun she would not have been playing by Governor Brewer's rules, as the law she signed allowed for bars to post no guns. The judge definitely messed up and made inappropriate comments but there are sure a whole lot of names posting here I have never seen before in Flagstaff. Perhaps you should go take care of your own neighborhood. And learn the laws of Arizona while you are at it, if you are going to post.
  4. flagcitzn22
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    flagcitzn22 - September 10, 2012 5:01 pm
    While the comments and apology made by Judge Hatch is undoubtedly disingenuine and a gross misuse of position have we forgotten about the sentence that Judge Hatch handed down. That in itself is a disgraceble act and causes anguish to sexual assault victims world wide.
  5. ohb552
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    ohb552 - September 10, 2012 11:44 am
    Whether or not this petition does anything is irrelevant-WOMEN cannot afford to stay silent on this issue. Do we want to remain stuck in this world where women are accused of causing violence against themselves? If we wear something judged by another that is too provacative we invited it? We ASKED to be raped? WE ASK TO BE GROPED? WE WANT TO BE RAPED OR WE WOULD NOT HAVE GONE INTO THAT PLACE OF BUSINESS????Men are not accused of that. How long will we stand up for double standards? I reject it!
  6. Tom Babbitt
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    Tom Babbitt - September 09, 2012 7:54 am
    When Judge Hatch says,"If you hadn't been there none of this would have happened," she is actually saying, "If you patronize a Flagstaff business and you are a woman then you have a reasonable expectation of being groped." If you live, work or own a business in Flagstaff you should want to have Judge Hatch removed from office. She has caused anguish to all of Flagstaff.
  7. pfaith1367
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    pfaith1367 - September 09, 2012 7:15 am
    Judge Hatch should step down, I'm going to guess that she will not.
  8. FWIW--
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    FWIW-- - September 08, 2012 7:58 pm
    No surprise judge Hatch is a Brewer appointee. I guess if the vicitim had played by Governor Brewer's rules she could've brought her six shooter into the Green Room and none of this would've ever gone to trial. Lesson learned.
  9. JZ
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    JZ - September 08, 2012 9:43 am
    She needs to go.
  10. Think First
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    Think First - September 08, 2012 8:15 am
    I agree, whatever Judge Hatch said was horrible. A victim with valid claims should rarely be blamed, but the online petition is ridiculous. The opinions of 10,000+ people on an Internet petition are pointless. The only ones that can cause a recall are the citizens of Coconino County. A register county voter must be the one to file and circulate a petition, not a bunch of people from California, Nebraska, Maine, etc. Think first, then react people.
  11. AZGregory
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    AZGregory - September 08, 2012 12:07 am
    Thank you Governor Brewer for picking as Superior Court Judge for Coconino County a person with such right wing ideological purity that she has transported us back to the 1950s when women knew their place and a heinous sexual assault was punished by a slap on the wrist for the man and a good shaming for the "victim". Just wonder what other gems of wisdom and judicial temperament await us from Judge Hatch over the next two years until she comes up for election.
  12. bmarie
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    bmarie - September 07, 2012 8:53 pm
    Proud of you, Judge.......your mom would be too, I have no doubt......you don't hear too many people these days quoting their mother.....don't worry about all these "perfect" people who have all the right answers....they say they are for victim's rights and then turn you into a victim by their cruel, harsh, and abusive words.......Jesus is the only perfect person that ever walked this earth.....Let forgiveness rule in your heart right now, Judge....
  13. LDH49
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    LDH49 - September 07, 2012 8:49 pm
    “I apologize to the victim for any additional anguish my comments may have caused,”
    That is not an apology, it is an excuse. "May have caused" when it is perfectly clear her comments DID cause anguish. This woman has NO place on the bench and no place on the Bar. That judges can make this kind of "mistake" and keep their power is appalling, and profoundly frightening. One is tempted to ask, "What was Judge Hatch thinking?" Until one realizes that she was not thinking.
  14. curtis maes
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    curtis maes - September 07, 2012 8:24 pm
    Well that apology was passive aggressive. Like her non-sentence of that sex offender, the apology was self serving. Did she really think she could get away with blaming the victim? She did not want to piss off law enforcement officers so she focused on the victim "being irresponsible" or better put living life. And If anyone out there thinks that the sex offender does not have any other victims...do you still believe in Santa? Thanks for keeping our communities safe kids.
  15. AlexG
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    AlexG - September 07, 2012 7:22 pm
    I don't get why the cop was punished for this. Clearly he just wanted to compliment the young lady, and unfortunately for everyone involved, his compliments were poorly communicated.
  16. bfeather
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    bfeather - September 07, 2012 7:04 pm
    We will vote for her seat in 2014, not 2012...apologies for the previous typo!
  17. David63
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    David63 - September 07, 2012 6:55 pm
    Time for the Judge to go,forever. Women have the right to go where men go,but,apparntly,judge Hatch forgets about the 14th (equal right under the law) and the equal rights laws,but,she is only a Judge,and has litte to do with knowing the laws of the USA,as proven her remarks.
  18. Fromthemiddle
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    Fromthemiddle - September 07, 2012 6:18 pm
    In the words of scooby doo. Rughtt row.... Story is national. On front page of MSN. Com. Small world...... for little old Flagstaff.
  19. truth and integrity
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    truth and integrity - September 07, 2012 6:06 pm
    Geez former Judge Hatch.. if you had not said that... this would not be happening to you
  20. andrewvache
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    andrewvache - September 07, 2012 5:52 pm
    An apology for a comment that was "poorly communicated" is not enough. There is no such thing as "poor communication" and I do not believe that this Judge feels what she says. She should have acted as an advocate for the victim that sat before her. That is her job. I will not sit by and allow this woman to judge another victim. I demand a resignation.
  21. NoAZmom
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    NoAZmom - September 07, 2012 4:30 pm
    Her apology was also poorly communicated. This judge could use some new "handlers". I'm sure she regrets her comments and the way they were received, and I don't doubt that she will be much more careful with her thoughts in the future. Unfortunately, I think she has done irreparable damage to women who haven't even been victimized yet. Certainly no woman would want to come forward and be blamed for her assault, nor would they want the attention this issue has gained.
  22. my2pennies
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    my2pennies - September 07, 2012 4:29 pm
    Hey Judge! Did you ever play poker? You only get to show your hand once.....you did that ..... we know what you are...and we'll remember in November............
  23. Sasquatch
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    Sasquatch - September 07, 2012 3:58 pm
    Sounds like a back-handed apology. She is not sorry for saying what she did, rather that the victim felt anguish? So it is appropriate for a judge to make these comments toward a victim? She still misses the point. Sign the petition:

  24. kahlyn
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    kahlyn - September 07, 2012 3:31 pm
    I don't think Judge Hatch gets it. I've read the Judge's "apology," and nowhere does tshe say she understands that women have equal rights to men, and furthermore, that law enforcement officers aren't supposed to sexually assault victims. Judge Hatch's original words were virtually as criminal as the act upon which she was sentencing. Her apology was vaccuous. It's time to replace her with someone who understands the rights of women.
  25. Fromthemiddle
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    Fromthemiddle - September 07, 2012 3:31 pm
    That's funny! When I tell my wife I lost my job and we will likely lose the house as well, I hope she won't focus on the content of what i said; and just tell me it was "poorly communicated"
  26. FlagstaffBorn80
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    FlagstaffBorn80 - September 07, 2012 3:27 pm
    Too late, Judge Hatch. Too late. Signatures are filling in rapidly for your removal from Arizona Superior Court. Happy to see this as headline news on MSN.com, with her face clearly displayed for the world to see and read what the Judge said.
    Remove Hatch From The Bench!
  27. pdeasy
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    pdeasy - September 07, 2012 3:13 pm
    Too little too late Judge Hatch. Your true colors came out in the courtroom and you cannot be trusted as an objective justice. You are a disgrace to the robes you wear and should not be able to practice law.Our petition has over 5,800 signatures and is growing. If you do not resign you will be forced off the bench. Perhaps you should see what the public has to say:

  28. Sasquatch
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    Sasquatch - September 07, 2012 2:59 pm
    Did the stay out of bars comment come from Hatch's religious background?
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