Home News Judge pleads guilty after sneaking into neighbor’s house to steal panties

Judge pleads guilty after sneaking into neighbor’s house to steal panties

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A suspended Suffolk County District Court judge charged with sneaking into a woman’s home to steal panties from her hamper last year has pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted burglary — a felony, authorities said Friday.

Robert Cicale, 50, of East Islip, pleaded guilty before Nassau County District Court Judge David Goodsell in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip on Friday.

It was the latest development in an unusual case dating back to March 29, 2018, when Suffolk police officers apprehended Cicale near his home. Police said he was knocking on a neighbor’s door after he had entered and left the home of a different neighbor — later identified as a 23-year-old former intern at the Islip Town attorney’s office, where he used to work.

Police and prosecutors said the judge had several panties stuffed in his suit jacket and raincoat.

“He violated the law, the public’s trust and the victims’ sense of security,” said District Attorney Timothy Sini, in a news release issued Friday. “Today’s disposition holds him accountable for his actions and serves justice.”

Cicale’s attorney, Michael J. Brown of Central Islip, said Cicale is now a changed man.

“Judge Cicale accepted responsibility for his actions today,” Brown said. “He has served the people of Suffolk County honorably for the last 26 years, as a Legal Aid attorney, Town of Islip attorney and a district court judge. He has dealt with his mental illness issues in a proactive manner and is a better person for doing so.”

At the time of the arrest, officials said, Cicale admitted entering the home that time — and on previous occasions — and that he left abruptly to avoid getting caught.

“I went into the house to take the panties again but left when I heard someone home,” authorities quoted Cicale as saying after his arrest. “The panties I had on me are from the other times I went into the house.”

Immediately before his election to the bench in 2015, Cicale served as Islip Town attorney. After his arrest, he was placed on leave and then suspended with pay.

Cicale is scheduled to be sentenced by Goodsell on Nov. 15, and he is likely to be given five years of probation with sex offender conditions, prosecutors said.

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