Last month's announcement by Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler of Judge James Babbitt's "retirement" continues to trouble us. That's because an investigation into the matter revealed that his "retirement" was apparently a resignation coupled with a secret $10,000 payout by the state to Babbitt's former court reporter, who said she'd been sexually harassed by Babbitt in the work setting for several years. It is to Babler's credit that when he first became aware of the situation, he immediately informed the state's Judicial Commission, which conducted an investigation. We can only guess at the reason for his obfuscating the truth in the "retirement" announcement. We were told that the findings of the commission are confidential and that's equally disturbing. Judges are public figures. That means that their actions should be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens. It's simply wrong that taxpayers are kept in the dark when it comes to the wrongdoing of those placed in a position to judge others. Unfortunately, this is a situation in which it seems taxpayers deserved the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but weren't given it.
[The editorials that appear weekly in this space are the views of the newspaper as determined by The Chronotype's editorial board. All editorials are written by one or more members of the board, which consists of Warren Dorrance, Sam Finazzo, Gene Prigge and Eileen Nimm.]