A Beaver County magisterial district judge who was suspended for allegedly making unwanted advances toward a clerk and verbally lashing out at others has been brought up on additional ethics charges for allegedly retaliating against the witnesses set to appear at his upcoming disciplinary trial.
The state’s Judicial Conduct Board filed charges against magisterial district judge and lawyer Andrew M. Hladio, who presides over a district court in Ambridge, Beaver County, and asked that the Court of Judicial Discipline suspend him.
According to the board’s complaint, Hladio, who was suspended with pay last year, retaliated against witnesses who assisted the board in its ethics investigation. He allegedly did this by filing a complaint to the state inspector general against his office manager, claiming she wasn’t performing her duties. He also filed a disability discrimination lawsuit to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the office manager harassed him and that the county president judge and court administrator did nothing when he complained about his staff.
The board also alleged that Hladio falsely accused a prosecutor of retaliating against him for filing his disability claim with the EEOC. It is unclear how Hladio was allegedly harassed or retaliated against. Hladio did not return a call for comment placed to the district court. He also could not be reached through his home number.
“Judge Hladio engaged in conduct so extreme that it brought disrepute upon the judicial office itself,” the board’s chief counsel Robert Graci wrote at the end of the six-count complaint.
Hladio is the third MDJ this year to find himself in hot water; the first, a Monroe County MDJ, admitted to watching pornography in full view of his staff, and the second, Bucks County Magisterial District Judge John I. Waltman was indicted on federal bribery charges, on top of money laundering charges he faces from 2016.
A report by The Legal shows that MDJs make up the highest percentage of judges disciplined by the board.
According to the complaint in the prior disciplinary matter, Hladio, starting in 2010, repeatedly asked one of his clerks, identified in court papers only as N.B., out for dates even after she told him she wasn’t interested. The complaint said a court administrator sat down with Hladio and told him to stop pursuing N.B.
Afterward, he allegedly “demonstrated sulking, vindictive behavior toward N.B. when she refused to go out with him or answer his questions about her personal life,” the 2016 complaint said.
The board also claimed Hladio became angry and agitated and yelled at staff, lawyers and police in his courtroom.