Women wage campaign to impeach New Jersey judge
MONMOUTH CO., N.J. (WABC) -- A group of women who say they've been discriminated against by a judge in Monmouth County, New Jersey are now trying to get him impeached. They've filed a petition with the state assembly to have the judge removed.
What's interesting is the role that social media has had in bringing these women together to share their stories. It started with one mother who thought she was alone in her legal battle with Judge Paul Escandon, but she discovered there are dozens with similar experiences.
"All of a sudden, one day I was his mother and the next day I had fewer rights than a babysitter on the street," Rachel Alitoff said.
Alitoff temporarily lost custody of her son, now 4, when her divorce case appeared before Judge Escandon in Monmouth County, who's now the target of a Facebook campaign to have him removed. He's also the subject of a legal petition just filed by Alitoff and several other women claiming their legal rights were violated.
ALITOFF: "My child was taken away by a Judge that is biased against women and that can happen to anyone."
WALLACE: "A lot of people think there must be a reason.
ALITOFF: "People think that it means you are a bad mom, I have no criminal history, there were no parenting issues, this could happen to anyone. I don't have access to anything, it's as if I walked away from a fire."
Alitoff, who moved in with family and now works two jobs, wondered if there were others like her. She started reaching out on social media.
"I put a posting on Craigslist and I said if this has happened, reach out to me," she said.
She heard from Patricia Pisciotti, and then dozens more women. We met some of them.
"It was just unbelievable how many had come forward later on to say that they had been abused by this judge, deliberately bankrupting putting them in a situation where they couldn't care for their children, or a situation where he could take the children away from them," Pisciotti said.
"If I didn't meet these women or meet the people who had came through it or passed by and hear the story, I don't know what I would do." I was homeless for eight months," another woman named Tamkeka said. "Judge Escandon made me feel like I had less right than a person who murdered someone."
"I lost everything and speaking out is all I have," Paula Wolfe said. "The system actually made me feel worthless and I'm empowering myself again."
The petition asks for the impeachment of Judge Escandon, who was moved to a different civil court a few months ago.
"These are dozens of women who have come together with similar stories, similar injustices," Robert Tandy said. "So essentially they're not only being denied their due process rights but they're essentially being forced into poverty and many cases women have filed bankruptcy."
"I can't believe that this can happen in the United states. This is like living in a third world country," Alitoff said.
If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
investigations, sarah wallace
- 2-year-old boy survives 3-story window fall 14 min ago
- AccuWeather: Windy and cooler 20 min ago
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- DISH Network signs on for WATCH ABC app
- 3 suspects arrested, cop shot at N.J. shopping center
- Photos: Garfield police shooting scene in photos
- Oh my! NYPD's request for cop photos goes awry
- Metro-North to require sleep apnea evaluation
- One dead, another rescued in Long Island fire
- Not so fast! Palcohol not approved by federal government
- Passengers step up to help elderly man in bus brawl
- 13-year-old shooting victim released from hospital
- Hoax sends SWAT teams rushing to Long Beach house
- Brooklyn hit and run suspect identified by police
- AccuWeather: Windy and cooler
20 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos