A district judge has been reprimanded after a member of staff claimed he touched her inappropriately and made a lewd comment, the Office for Judicial Complaints said today.
The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice told Michael Wood, who sat in Magistrates' Courts across County Durham, that his behaviour was unacceptable following an investigation.
Mr Wood, a trained lawyer who was 61 when the allegations were made last year, voluntarily stood down from his position.
The incident in Consett, County Durham, was reported by the complainant's colleagues after the woman told them what had happened.
A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: "District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) Michael Wood has been issued with a reprimand following a complaint by a member of staff that she was touched inappropriately and that the judge made an inappropriate comment.
"The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice found Judge Wood's conduct to be below the standard of behaviour required of a judicial officer holder and have issued Judge Wood with a reprimand."
Mr Wood became the county's first full-time district judge in 2004. Unlike magistrates, district judges, who can earn more than £100,000 a year, must have a legal background. They have the authority to sit alone and at any Magistrates' Court.