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Show Some Leg, Woman Judge Tells Defendant

Society: 'Men are easy,' jurist says as she urges teen to dump her boyfriend and marry a doctor. Comments draw fire.

August 16, 1996| From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — A woman judge gave Katie Nemeth some free advice before accepting her guilty plea: Dump your boyfriend, show your legs and find a doctor to marry.

"Men are easy," Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold told Nemeth, according to a transcript of a court hearing. "You can go sit in the bus stop, put on a short skirt, cross your legs and pick up 25. Ten of them will give you their money."

Saffold didn't stop there.

"If you don't pick up the first 10," the judge said, "then all you got to do is open your legs a little bit and cross them at the bottom, and then they'll stop."

The judge told Nemeth that she should break up with her boyfriend because "all of the women in prisons across these United States of America are there because of a guy," the transcript says.

Two national organizations Thursday called the remarks sexist and insulting to men and women.

Saffold made the comments Monday while fining the 19-year-old Nemeth $200 for misusing a credit card. Nemeth had pleaded guilty.

Her lawyer, Terry Gilbert, said Nemeth had worked in a store where a customer lost a credit card and that Nemeth's boyfriend used it. He later repaid the owner.

Nemeth said she wasn't with the boyfriend anymore, so Saffold suggested she go to a nearby medical school and "marry a doctor lickety-split."

"All you got to do is take a biology book, don't even read it," the judge said. "When one of them walks by say, 'Excuse me, could you tell me what this means?' You got yourself a date."

Saffold, 45, who was elected in 1994, is married to a doctor.

Gilbert said he was shocked by Saffold's words. Nemeth does not have a telephone listing.

Saffold did not return calls Thursday. She told the Plain Dealer on Wednesday that her remarks were taken out of context and denied urging Nemeth to marry or pick up a doctor, even though it appears in the transcript.

"I was telling her her boyfriend's a bum," she said.

Leslie Wolfe, president of the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington, said the judge may have had the best of intentions, but added: "She should just say it straight out and not give her really appallingly bad and sexist advice."

Sidney Siller, founder of the National Organization for Men, said he plans to put her name on the "enemies list" on his group's World Wide Web site. The organization, which he said has 14,000 members, advocates men's rights.

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