A woman judge gave Katie Nemeth some free advice before accepting her guilty plea: Dump your boyfriend, show your legs and find a doctor to marry.
“Men are easy,” Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold told Nemeth. “You can go sit in the bus stop, put on a short skirt, cross your legs and pick up 25. Ten of them will give you their money.”
She didn’t stop there.
“If you don’t pick up the first 10,” the judge said, “then all you’ve got to do is open your legs a little bit and cross them at the bottom and then they’ll stop.”
Two national organizations Thursday called the remarks sexist and insulting to men and women.
Saffold made the comments Monday in fining the 19-year-old Nemeth $200 for misusing a credit card. Nemeth had pleaded guilty.
Her lawyer, Terry Gilbert, said Nemeth had worked in a store where a customer had lost a credit card, and Nemeth’s boyfriend used it. He later repaid the owner.
According to a transcript of the hearing, the judge told Nemeth she should break up with her boyfriend because “all of the women in prisons across these United States of America are there because of a guy.”
Nemeth said she isn’t with the boyfriend anymore, so Saffold suggested she go to a nearby medical school and “marry a doctor lickety-split.”
“All you got to do is take a biology book - don’t even read it,” the judge said. “When one of them walks by, say, ‘Excuse me, could you tell me what this means?’ You got yourself a date.”
The 45-year-old Saffold, who was elected in 1994, is married to a doctor.
Saffold did not return calls Thursday. She told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday her remarks have been taken out of context and denied urging Nemeth to marry or pick up a doctor, even though that appears in the transcript.
“I was telling her her boyfriend’s a bum,” the judge said. “I think she’s a nice kid. I was telling her her choice was the wrong choice. She’s a young kid with no prior record. She has a chance to be productive.”
Leslie Wolfe, president of the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington, said the judge may have had the best of intentions, but added: “She should just say it straight out and not give her really appallingly bad and sexist advice.”
Sidney Siller, founder of the National Organization for Men, said he plans to put Saffold’s name on the “enemies list” on his group’s World Wide Web computer site. The organization, which he said has 14,000 members, advocates men’s rights.