Former Judge Gets Prison in Prostitution Case
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A former judge with a reputation for handing out tough sentences stood on the other side of the bench Friday to hear his fate after pleading guilty to transporting women across state lines for the purposes of prostitution.
Former State Supreme Court judge Ronald Tills was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in U.S. District Court before Judge William Skretny. He was also fined $25,000. Family members, friends and supporters were in the courtroom and some cried as the judge announced the prison term.
Federal investigators say discovery of Tills' behavior began with arrests at massage parlors in Western New York. Tills had ties to the Royal Order of Jesters, a men's organization that prosecutors say often arranged for women to have sex with club members. Skretny noted that Tills has cooperated with federal investigators in the ongoing case probing prosititution and trafficking of women.
Before the sentencing Tills told Skretny that he was "embarassed and remorseful for the disgrace" he caused to the judicial system and his family. He also regretted the harm he caused and prayed for forgiveness from his victims.
Skretny said the female victims were undocumented illegal immigrants forced to work as prostitutes. Skretny also pointed out that one of the women was actually a defendant in Tills' court when he was a judge and he began a relationship with her.
A former police captain and Tills' former court clerk were sentenced earlier this year for their involvement in the case.