ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) --
A Long Island judge who police say repeatedly broke into his neighbor's
home to steal her underwear has confessed to snatching panties on
multiple occasions, even though he has pleaded not guilty.
Still, Suffolk County District Judge Robert Cicale has been removed from
the bench and is facing up to 15 years in prison.
Cicale was arrested
on burglary charges
and appeared in court Friday
The judge is a married father of three young children, and he is accused
of sneaking into a home across the street and stealing the underwear of
a 23-year-old woman who lives there with her parents. He reportedly knew
the girl from when she worked as an intern at the Islip Town Attorney's
Office, when he used to work there.
In his confession, he said he stole the underwear upon feeling "urges."
He admitted that on several occasions, he entered the home, opened her
hamper and took underwear.
Cicarle was taken into custody after an incident that happened around 9
a.m. Thursday, when the young woman was alone. Prosecutors said she was
sleeping but woke up when she heard the door open. She called out,
"Hello?" and that's when she saw Cicale at the doorway.
Authorities say he turned around and ran away, and the victim closed and
locked the door and called her mother, who called 911. Responding
officers say they saw Cicale walking up to a different house and
pretending to knock on the door.
They approached him because he matched the description of the person the
victim described. They reportedly found several pairs of soiled women's
underwear on him, which the victim identified as her own.
Cicale has written letter of apology to victim and also provided a
"This is highly disturbing," Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini
said. "This is an individual who swore to uphold the law. He violated it
in a very serious way. The message here from both the Suffolk County
Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's office is
that no one is above the law, and we'll prosecute this case to the
fullest extent of the law."
A Nassau County district judge presided over Cicale's case to prevent a
conflict of interest. Cicale is expected to receive mental health
"His reputation throughout the court is stellar," defense attorney
William Wexler said. "Every judge, every lawyer respects him, and we
just have to see how the process plays out."
Wexler went on to say that the judge's wife is standing by her husband
through this process.
Cicale was ordered held on $50,000. Cicale was "temporarily relieved of
his judicial duties" and the matter was referred to the state's Court of
Appeals to determine whether to suspend the jurist, court system
spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
A judge also issued a restraining order that prevents Cicale from
contacting the victim and, as a condition of his bail, Cicale will also
be required to wear a GPS monitor, Sini said.
Neighbors were shocked when they learned of the judge's arrest.
"From what I heard, it's a little perverted maybe," neighbor William
Bloom said. "And that never makes sense to me."
Cicale is a graduate of St. John's Law School, a former legal aide
attorney and a former Islip Town Attorney elected to the District
Criminal Court in 2016.
"He's a family man, he's always outside playing basketball with his
kids," neighbor Jay Moceri said. "He's always jogging. He's always
friendly to everybody in the neighborhood."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)