Judge Removed From Bench

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Clark County Family Court Judge Nicholas Del Vecchio was ousted from office Tuesday by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline after pleading no contest to 11 ethics violations.

The panel's decision cuts short a judicial term that would have expired in early January. Del Vecchio, 51, was defeated in a bid for re-election in the August primary. He had been a family court judge since 2000.

The commission, meeting in Reno, also ruled that Del Vecchio can no longer serve in any judicial position in Nevada. Under terms of an agreement that resulted in the ethics counts against Del Vecchio being cut from 38 to 11, he waived any appeal rights.

The remaining ethics charges included allegations that he coerced his former stepdaughter into having sex when she was in her mid-20s and working as his judicial assistant, took nude photos of her when she was a teenager, and made sexually and racially disparaging comments about court employees.

Among the counts dropped from the original complaint was an allegation that he sexually abused the woman when she was a minor.

Both the original and amended ethics complaints didn't allege any criminal offenses. Clark County District Attorney David Roger declined to bring criminal charges, citing the time that had passed since the alleged offenses and state statutes of limitations.

Del Vecchio denied he ever had a sexual relationship with the woman, Rebeccah Murray, but had stated that he fell in love with her when she worked for him and wanted to marry her.

Murray, the daughter of Del Vecchio's ex-wife, Imogene Serrano, filed a civil lawsuit against him in March, seeking more than $50,000 in damages on allegations of assault, invasion of privacy and other charges.

Del Vecchio's marriage to Serrano lasted only a year. Serrano's daughter started working in Del Vecchio's office in 2002 when she was 22 years old.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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