Woman accusing Franklin County judge of sexual harassment testifies

Woman accusing judge of sexual harassment testifies
Woman discloses sexual language judge used

One of two women accusing a Franklin County Judge of sexual harassment took the stand Thursday.

Judge Timothy Horton is accused of three counts of misconduct, that could cost him his seat on the bench.

Two counts involve campaign law violations. The third is sexual misconduct against two women in his office: one, a former intern, the other is his former secretary and bailiff.

Elise Wyant has told her story publicly before, but Thursday testifying in front of the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Professional Conduct, she asked not to be photographed.

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She says she was a hostess in a restaurant in 2013, when she met Judge Timothy Horton, who asked her to stay after her shift for a drink.

"That's when I learned he was a judge, and he started commenting about my appearance and said I was so sexy and he said, that -these are his words- I want to (expletive) you in the (expletive)."
"What was your response to that?" asked Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Casey Russo.
"I was kind of shocked that this individual would say something so forward."
Wyant says Horton later contacted her about working as his secretary, a significant pay increase from what she was making.
"You still took the position even after he made the comments, and to quote you, he said, I want to (expletive) you in the (expletive). You still took the position even after that comment?" asked Russo.
"Yes," Wyant answered.
"Because I thought... he had been drinking when he made that comment, he was in a relaxed environment, I wasn't his employee. It would certainly change. That was my thinking, that the professional-ness would be there when I was an employee."

But she says those illusions were quickly dashed.

"I went to a lot of lunches," Wyant said. "He wanted my company, he wanted umm...he would say that they wanted something nice to look at."
"Did any of the donors ever make any comments about you being at lunch?" asked Russo.
"During this lunch one of the donors said I know why you brought her here. You want another zero on that check."
She read text messages from Horton, including, "Hey Sexy," and "I just wanted to see you again, that's all."
"Were these common text messages that you received from Judge Horton?" Russo asked.
"Yes," Wyant answered.

She wept while recalling an incident at one of the frequent work happy hours outside of the office.

"He started pulling at my waist and my hip. He kept saying over and over I want to (expletive) you, I want to (expletive) you. And he was being so loud. I kept saying stop, stop. When I talked to him the next day about it, he said, 'If I ever do that again, take me by the shoulders and shake me and say no. And my reaction to that is I shouldn't have to do that. Because you shouldn't be putting me in that position in the first place."

Horton denies that specific allegation, but he and Wyant both admit to engaging in sexually-charged conversations.

He also admits to a sexual relationship with a former intern in his office but says it happened months after she left.

She is expected to take the stand Friday.