Massachusetts court to pay $425K to end sex harassment suit

January 28, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts state trial court has agreed to pay $425,000 to settle a lawsuit from a court social worker who says a judge pressured her into having sex with him.

Details of the settlement were released Thursday.

Judge Thomas Estes resigned in 2018 after he was indefinitely suspended by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court following the allegations.

Social worker Tammy Cagle had accused Estes of pressuring her into performing oral sex on him and then pushing her out of the drug court when she tried to end the relationship. Cagle worked on the Pittsfield drug court where Estes occasionally sat.

Estes had said their relationship was consensual and denied harassing Cagle or playing a role in her losing her job.

A former public defender, Estes was nominated to the bench by Democratic former Gov. Deval Patrick in 2014 and had served as first justice of the Eastern Hampshire District Court in western Massachusetts.

The settlement announced Thursday will resolve Cagle’s state lawsuit. A federal lawsuit is still pending.

A message seeking comment from Estes was not immediately returned Friday.