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Judge Apologizes for Remark About Anita Hill

October 22, 1991

BOSTON (AP) _ A Juvenile Court judge apologized after making a derogatory reference to University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill at a judges’ conference.

Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, and the issue came up at Senate hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Juvenile Court Chief Judge Francis G. Poitrast said he objected to the distribution of some documents at the Oct. 12 judges’ meeting and was trying to compare the situation to Thomas’ Senate confirmation hearing when he referred to Hill as ″that broad.″

His remark was reported in the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

″There was an objection immediately. And I immediately said, ’You’re right, I never should have used that expression, and I’m sorry I did it,‴ he told The Boston Globe.

″I almost never use it,″ Poitrast, 60, told the Globe of the term. ″I couldn’t think of her name. I don’t know why that came to me any more than any other expression.″

″It’s a slang expression for women,″ Poitrast said. ″I never thought of it as being terrible. Others, like ‘dame’ or something, you just don’t use them.″

Superior Court Chief Justice Robert L. Steadman called Poitrast’s statement ill-advised and unfortunate but said he is ″one of the hardest working judges in the whole system″ and should not be judged on the basis of one remark.

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