A few weeks ago, I published a blog on Justin Castilyn, who is the owner of Butler County news. Castilyn is as controversy as much as he is populer. People in Butler County have all but stopped reading the Butler Eagle. There is no comparison, the Butler Eagle reporters write what the politicians want to hear, and Butler Citizen posts the unfiltered truth.
My previous post on Castilyn was met with both accolade, and hateful commentary on Castilyn. A quick google search of some of the Castilyn hating mail I received revealed that the mail was from individuals with criminal cases who Castilyn published about. In other words, there is a segment of the Butler County population who has a hatred of Castilyn for publishing the truth.
Now that is effective journalism. Effective journalism is when you do not mask, exagerrate, soften or manipulate the truth, but you “tell it as it is,” without narrative, and without any bull shit.
What first really caught my attention about Castilyn’s writing was a story on Butler County President Judge Thomas Doerr, who was using his office (like Billy Higgins in Bedford County) to extort sexual favors from females. He remains in office, though for unspecified reasons, he was recently removed from presiding over all family court cases.
I have serious questions and doubts as if his removal is related to the pending federal lawsuit. I have serious suspicions that this removal is related to judicial misconduct related to his actions in family court cases, cases that are sealed by law from researching publicly.
According to Castilyn, who is really the only reporter looking into Judge Doerr with any seriousness. There is a suit pending in federal court, and Castilyn seems to be the only one announcing and broadcasting the f#cked up nature of the actions of Doerr:
Doerr in this past year was in fact named in a civil lawsuit that was dismissed-but I myself find this to be a serious problem when none of our local news will post these things! Would anyone know about Doerr being sued for sexual harassment if a person did not send me a copy of the lawsuit? NO! Because the media in this town pick sides and have sponsors and favors in the court house.
With that said here is a previous lawsuit filed against Doerr, and to say the least they are a little troubling, one can assume that there is no guilt or financial penalty for this Judge when the suit was dismissed. Yet i do not think anyone us surprised the suit was dismissed. I am all but sure the Starnes suit will be dismissed because all of these judges are friends and communicate. CITATION
With the recent scandal, criminal charges and abrupt resignation of former Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins, it somehow is astounding to me that this case against Judge Doerr has remained in civil court, and that no criminal charges have been filed. I suppose that Doerr is a better friend of Shapiro than is Higgins.
The story sounds much like Higgins story, except Doerr didn’t prey on criminal defendants – but he targeted officers of the court with his sexual extortion tactics. The victim, a former Butler County probation officer, bravely filed a lawsuit:
According to the suit, the woman met the judge at a Christmas party in 2004 and they started a sexual relationship at his insistence. The judge said the affair would be a “business” relationship with the understanding that the judge would get the woman hired as a probation officer.
The woman was hired in 2005. The sexual relationship continued, according to the suit, for four years. The woman said she felt pressured to continue it because she feared she could not reject the judge without losing her job. She said Judge Doerr would summon her to his chambers, and she couldn’t say no because of his power over her.
With some legal fanagling and a pleading brawl, a federal Judge let the civil suit stick. NO WAY was Judge Doerr entitled to immunity if he was engaged in activities outside the scope and authority of his office. And seeing a hot woman at a Christmas party, extorting sex from her in order so she could get a job, and then continuing to extort sex from her (threatening her to perform sex) or lose her job, is well beyond the scope of any judicial authority.
Judge Doerr of course fought it. Despite rampant courthouse rumors, knowledge and requests by Doerr that the victim be assigned to his courtroom and his courtroom alone, no action was taken by any of the other Judges or courthouse officers, and this disgusting sexually extorting behavior of Judge Doerr was allowed to continue pretty much out in the open.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon of the Western District of Pennsylvania on Thursday denied the motion to strike that Butler County President Judge Thomas Doerr filed in the case Starnes v. Court of Common Pleas of Butler County.
Doerr’s motion had asked the court to remove more than 15 paragraphs from plaintiff Crystal Starnes’ complaint that outlined her claims regarding their alleged prior relationship, but Bissoon declined to do so, saying motions to strike are generally disfavored by the courts.
“The court finds that the challenged averments are arguably relevant to, among other things, plaintiff’s claim that her interactions with Doerr after ending their sexual relationship created a hostile work environment and violated her First Amendment right to free association,” Bissoon said in her two-page order. “To the extent the challenged allegations are potentially prejudicial and/or likely to confuse a fact-finder, the court will have the ability to address these concerns through appropriate pretrial orders and/or careful jury selection, if the action proceeds to that stage.” CITATION
Doerr, a president Judge, somehow thinks the rules do not apply to him. He status as a Judge grants him immunity. His powerful position grants him some authority to give a pretty woman a job, and in exchange she performs sexual favors, because as fast as he gave her that job – he could take it away if she was non-compliant.
It’s worse than Cosby drugging women, what this is about is threatening the very livelihood and reputation of a woman who simply needed local employment. Crystal Starnes likely went to work every day dreading being called into Doerr’s office, weighing in her mind each time – Do I want to do something really uncomfortable or do I want to lose my job today?
Doerr played on that fear, playing her like a pawn. He didn’t want her in any court room except for his. Even when she requested a transfer to another Judges courtroom, and the transfer was granted, he over-rided it. He wanted to keep an eye on her, God forbid she gain any courage or self-confidence, and divulge the ugly secret.
Starnes’ lawsuit alleges that Doerr had discriminated against her and created a hostile work environment for her and her husband after they broke off a sexual relationship that began nearly 15 years ago. As president judge, Doerr oversaw administrative operations for the county’s probation department.
The economy was growing wretched in 2004 when Starnes was desperately looking for local employment. The national market would crash in 2006, but in small rural areas like Butler County, there was a shortage of jobs and an abundance of poverty, and desperation. She had been a probation officer in Allegheny county, but her car was old, the drive was taxing on her time and physical health, and she wanted to work near home.
Starnes likely sensed the sexual interest of Doerr at the Christmas party immediately, but she ignored him for a couple months. Diligently applying to jobs and coming up empty handed, she must have been growing desperate, and here was a powerful man – a President Judge – promising help. He was probably telling her how smart she was, how much he respected her, and how under utilized she was with her talents. “Don’t worry,” the rich well-connected Judge probably told her, “I can get you a job here, you won’t have to drive.” She was probably eager and relieved at the prospect, she had purportedly been trying for months to get into Butler county.
Starnes likely knew that would come at a cost, Doerr’s behavior and unwelcome sexual advances at the 2004 Christmas party likely made it clear he wasn’t interested in her skill or intellect. Her desperate need to be closer to home, to eliminate the job in her old and failing car, plus the escalating costs was physically and financially crippling to her. All of this was clear a cunning, calculating, manipulating and seasoned Judge, who was well versed on skillful manipulations of lawyers, being one himself and listening to them 8 hours a day on the court room floor. He preyed on her weakness. Gas was unaffordable in those years (particularly on measly salary of probation officer, the long drive was exhausting, her car was having constant costly mechanical failures, and this job in Butler County was something she so desperately needed and wanted. She was a sitting duck as a victim.
She must have thought about his promises, but knew the costs and did not respond to him at first. But he relentlessly contacted her, promising her relief from her dire economic state and desperate need of employment.
According to Starnes’ complaint, she met Doerr at a 2004 Christmas party. She said she rebuffed his attempts to meet with her after the party, but in February 2005 she met him at the courthouse after business hours and the two had sex on the floor of his chambers. CITATION
So, Starnes traded sex for a job that she needed badly.
Wherever you stand morally on this, in her mind she was doing what she had to do. And the Judicial Officer in power, also knew what he was doing. And I would argue to her, that whatever moral fallacy that Starnes may or may not have exhibited, the moral defect exhibited by Doerr was far more disgusting and devastating. He didn’t pick Starnes out of a crowd in a christmas party and offer her a job because she was smart, or strong, or would be good at the job, he picked her because she was vulnerable, desperate, and he sensed he could easily extort sex from her.
I can’t imagine how she must have felt about herself leaving the courthouse that night. Probably climbing into her car, shaking and scared, and rationalizing that though she had just done the unthinkable, now she would be able to afford to eat, her gas bills and that long physically taxing drive would be no more. She could spend more time with her family. She could pay her bills. She would never, ever, have to think about that disgusting incident again. She now had a local job, and now she could survive in a desolate run down Pennsylvania town, maybe even afford a new car since she wasn’t buying all that gas. Remember, gas was over $3.00 a gallon in those years.
She probably was thinking that she would tell nobody ever, and wouldn’t have to. After all, her friends and family knew about her desperate job search for a local position, and after all how embarrassing it would be for her to speak about it publicly and then everyone would know that the job wasn’t given for her qualifications or credentials, but given because a perverted Judge found a weak and desperate woman he could extort for his own sexual needs.
Starnes said in the complaint that Doerr said he wanted to keep their relationship professional, but they continued to have sex over the next five years, often in his chamber. In her complaint, Starnes said she had been “passive” about the relationship, and that she “felt she had little choice.”
At the beginning of their relationship, Starnes was a probation officer in neighboring Allegheny County, but was a Butler County resident. The complaint said Starnes had wanted to work in Butler County, and Doerr helped her get a job at the county’s probation department.
However, according to the complaint, Doerr subsequently began to assert control over her work-life, including allegedly making her appear in his courtroom, and acting “patronizing” and “flirtatious.” CITATION
Starnes had been naive. It wasn’t a one time deal, which she would never have to think about again, and which nobody would ever know about. It was continuous, years long, threats and harrassment. Having left Allegheny County, she was likely unsure she could get that job back, and probably deeply regretful she ever left. But she had no idea of the consequences.
Doerr must have been enjoying the control. He ran the probation department, he knew what he had over her. He knew about her fear of losing her job and her livelihood, he knew about her shame and embarrassment that she would feel if her colleagues ever found out. He knew or likely sensed the deep shame and regret for the sacrifice she had made in order to secure that job in Butler County.
CRYSTAL STARNES, THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE AT THE HANDS OF THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN BUTLER COUNTY. YOU ARE A HEROINE!
So as disgusting and shameful as it was, when he beckoned, she reluctantly came. He was likely dropping threats, innuendo and passive aggressive promises, that if she wasn’t compliant – then it was him who had the ultimate authority. It was him who held her livelihood in his hands, and at the flick of a wrist could take everything away. With the depressed economy, and the nearly non-existent job market, she must have been afraid. So she swallowed her horror and disgust, and she did what the President Judge asked, she did the unthinkable, over and over again because he demanded it.
In 2010, after their sexual relationship ended, Starnes began dating the man whom she later married, the complaint said. Doerr subsequently began harassing her and her husband, and, after she became pregnant, Doerr gave Starnes job assignments that conflicted with her complicated pregnancy, the complaint said.
Doerr, who I believe is a married man himself, was displeased when Starnes put an end to their sexual relationship. It probably took a lot of courage for her to have that conversation, but at this point she was no longer alone. She was engaged, and had a fall back. If she were to lose her job, she was no longer the only bread winner. Plus she was in love, and any woman in love – I mean truly in love – doesn’t want anybody elses hands on her except the man she loved. I can’t imagine how hard it was for a lowly probation officer to approach one of the most powerful men in the county, and ask that this please stop. She was likely wondering prior to that conversation if he would fire her right then and there. According to Butler county courthouse employees, word was already spreading about the ongoing affair. Starnes was under a cloud of embarrassment, because it wasn’t the man in power feeling the shame and continued obligation, it was Starnes, who likely wasn’t even sure she could have a job anymore if she stopped complying with Doerr’s incessant and disgusting sexual demands.
Doerr hated Starnes’ announcement that she no longer would comply with his sexual demands. She was pregnant, in love and soon to be married. She likely informed him of this, and his response was not compassionate or humane. Instead he retaliated (because he could), and because – or so he thought – she had no other recourse.
He didn’t fire her, but he made her life a living hell. He gave her job assignments that put her pregnancy in jeopardy, and continued to make sure her requests for transfers out of his court room were denied. He continued to watch her like a hawk, and at every turn and occasion, he found ways to make her life a living hell. It is even said that he began to spread rumors on her sexual promiscuity and her “coming onto him” when none of it was true. Purportedly, Starnes began dreading to go to work, she was embarrassed by the rumors, pregnant, and with each new assignment they grew more dangerous, difficult and longer running. Doerr was pissed, his mistress had rejected him, so now he was going to make her pay.
Among other things, the complaint said, Starnes was eventually ostracized at the office and forced to work in a different work area from the other officers. The complaint also alleged, that, among other things, she was not given regular email access, and was prohibited from conducting field visits that her male colleagues had been able to perform. CITATION
It only got worse. Rumors were that the tension between them was noticeable, palpable to the other courthouse staff. Doerr, or someone, was perpetuating the awful rumors, the rumors that Starnes probably hoped nobody would ever hear. Her colleagues were learning how she got her job, and beginning to lose respect for her. Maybe she didn’t have skill? Maybe she wasn’t qualified? Maybe she wasn’t worth her salt? Maybe she was just a giant slut who got off on fucking the president judge, and in return got special favors. It was her reputation – not his – that suffered. It was her – not him – that suffered.
Starnes filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, and soon after was placed on a performance improvement plan, the complaint said. She filed her suit against the court and Doerr in October, alleging gender discrimination, retaliation and violation of her due process rights. CITATION
That case is pending. The Butler Eagle, or local paper, has hardly published a story or breathed a word of it. And when they, on very rare occassions, do publish – they publish Doerr’s side of the story, after all, he is the president judge and most powerful man in the community. They don’t publish the Starnes story, they take some crooked dirtbag sexually-extorting Judge and could give a shit about what Starnes went through. They don’t care about how she was ostracized, nearly fired, publicly embarrassed, and preyed on by a Judge who recognized her own vulnerabilities, abused the powers of his office and only thought about his dick.
Honestly I think there should be criminal charges on this matter. When a politician trades money or favors or bribes people for their own benefit, they should pay the price for it and be held accountable. Regardless of what you think of Starnes, the ultimate responsibility lies with Doerr. Doerr, an elected official, who used his authority and abused the integrity of the voters who elected him, just so he could get his rocks off. Get this perverted terrorist out of office.