SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. — A New York judge who told police he had "urges" to steal women's underwear pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony burglary charge after breaking into his neighbor's home to steal her worn undergarments, prosecutors said.
Robert Cicale, a Suffolk County district court judge, admitted he had broken into the victim's Long Island home several times and stolen underwear out of her clothing hamper, District Attorney Timothy Sini said.
The 23-year-old woman — who once worked as an intern for Cicale when he was a municipal town attorney — was alone in her home in East Islip on Thursday when she heard a noise and saw a man running off, police said. The woman called her mother, who then called 911.
When officers arrived, they found Cicale on the street carrying several pair of the woman's soiled undergarments, authorities said.
The judge, who generally hears misdemeanor criminal cases in the county's district court, told the officers that he had taken the underwear during another break-in, Sini said.
Cicale told investigators that on Thursday he "went into the house to take the panties again," according to court documents.
It was unclear why Cicale at the time would have been carrying underwear he had taken on a previous occasion.
"This is very disturbing," Sini said in an interview Friday. "In his confession, he noted he had urges to do this, to engage in this behavior."
Investigators are still investigating to try to figure out how many times Cicale broke into the woman's home, the district attorney said.
"The underwear he had on him when police approached him were underwear that were stolen on prior occasions," Sini said. "He admitted he had gone into the home unlawfully on a few other occasions."
Cicale was "temporarily relieved of his judicial duties" and the matter was referred to the state's Court of Appeals to determine whether to suspend the jurist, court system spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
A judge also issued a restraining order that prevents Cicale from contacting the victim and, as a condition of his bail, Cicale will also be required to wear a GPS monitor, Sini said.
Cicale was released after posting $25,000 bail and didn't comment as left the courthouse. His attorney, William Wexler, said Cicale had a stellar reputation.