Closing arguments heard in case of embattled judge

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Closing arguments were heard Wednesday in the public hearing of a judge accused of misconduct behind the bench and sexual harassment behind the scenes.

Rafael Ovalles’s future as a judge is on the line but the defense team said that regardless of the outcome, the damage has already been done to his reputation.

The allegations against Ovalles include him making sexual remarks to women, demeaning attorneys and, at times, having his pants unbuttoned or completely off in his chambers.

In a more than four-hour session, the 20-page court document laying out the allegations was reviewed page by page.

Ovalles’s defense team continued to argue that the accusations were “baseless” and fabricated by clerks and attorneys who didn’t like him.

Attorney Marc Desisto insisted his witnesses corroborated the claims.

The allegations against the judge span multiple years.

Ovalles was appointed to the bench in 2005 by Gov. Don Carcieri. He has been relieved from his duties with pay since Dec. 2015 as the investigation remains active.

The case is now under advisement and has been submitted.