Lyco sheriff accuses local judge of sexually harassing deputy
WILLIAMSPORT – The Lycoming County sheriff has accused Clinton County Senior Judge J. Michael Williamson of sexually harassing one of his female deputies.
Sheriff R. Mark Lusk said he did so in a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Board about two February incidents when Williamson was specially assigned to the Joseph Sentore Coleman murder case.
Lusk claims Williamson first called the deputy “sunshine” and later in the presence of two other deputies asked her if she had dinner plans for Valentine’s Day.
The deputy was upset the way he made the comments and submitted a report, the sheriff said.
Lusk said he went to the conduct board because he did not get any satisfaction from president Judge Nancy L. Butts.
“He [Williamson] picked on the wrong deputy who works for the right sheriff,” he said.
Williamson, who was a judge in Clinton County from 1994 to 2012, has been involved in prior controversy.
Recently, he was critical of the Lycoming County court system when he denied a defense motion to dismiss the charges over a speedy trial issue. Williamson no longer is assigned to cases in the county and will not sentence Coleman, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of a mother and adult son in 2017, Butts said.
His comments, taken from the court transcript, were:
“My experience here in this county is that there’s no common sense applied to the scheduling of cases. If you’ve got a case with 14 witnesses and one of them isn’t available, that case is continued without any effort being made to figure out whether or not that witness is necessary or not. And, I’ve been here on days for the call of the list and it’s absolutely a waste of time.”
The state Supreme Court in 2011, citing his apparent antagonism against the mother in a child custody case, vacated an order terminating her parental rights and removed the case from him.
In 2002, then Clinton County District Attorney Ted McKnight unsuccessfully tried to have Superior Court ban Williamson from presiding over criminal cases to avoid the possibility of appeals.
The basis of the request was Williamson saying during an arraignment he was aware the defendant was part of a group of people who had contacted the FBI and other law enforcement attempting to enter deals in return for providing information about his alleged criminal activities.
Williamson criticized the FBI for what he called a “witch hunt.”
The Express reached out to Judge Williamson Friday and he declined to comment on the accusations.