Florida Circuit Judge Gene Stephenson said he didn't recall making the comment.
updated 1/30/2004 10:47:45 AM ET 2004-01-30T15:47:45

A judge who made disparaging comments about a rape victim apologized and removed himself from the case.

Circuit Judge Gene Stephenson said Thursday he hoped the victim accepted his apology. “The remarks were inappropriate,” he said. “It’s something I’ve never done before and won’t do again.”

Stephenson, 70, said he didn’t remember making the comment Monday, but court transcripts indicated he said, “Why would he want to rape her? She doesn’t look like a day at the beach.”

Stephenson made the remark after looking at a photo of the beaten and bruised victim as attorneys were discussing a plea agreement for the defendant.

The victim, who was not at the court hearing Monday, was angry when she heard about Stephenson’s comment and said she planned to file a complaint with the state Judicial Qualifications Commission.

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