Will County judge admits using courthouse computer to view pornography
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org August 19, 2012 7:30PM
Will County Judge Joseph Polito, leaves the Will County Court House Wednesday afternoon, April11, 2012. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: September 21, 2012 6:34AM
A Will County judge has admitted he used his courthouse computer to view Internet pornography but says he’s seeking professional help to deal with his problems.
Judge Joseph Polito made his admission in papers filed with the Illinois Courts Commission last week, nearly four months after the Chicago Sun-Times first revealed that his county computer account had been repeatedly used to access hard-core pornography.
Disciplinary charges spurred by the Sun-Times article were filed against Polito by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board last month.
Polito had until now refused to discuss why his computer at the Joliet courthouse was used to access sites, including chubbyparade.com, hugeheavybreasts.com, bigbras-club.com, portofdebauchery.com and teenagesextape.com in 2010 and 2011.
But in papers filed by his attorney last week, Polito admitted he had frequently done so during work hours, typically after his afternoon court call had been completed but also in the morning before he took the bench.
The judge also admitted he knew there was a policy against viewing porn at work, and that he kept searching for porn even after he was blocked by software designed to prevent staff from wasting taxpayer time.
He acknowledged that his actions had “brought the judicial office into disrepute” and that they violated the state’s code of judicial conduct but denied that he had violated a section of the code that requires a judge to “conduct himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”
Polito voluntarily sought treatment for his behavior after he was confronted by Chief Judge Gerald R. Kinney when the Sun-Times first inquired about Polito’s workplace Internet habits last August, his attorney William J. Martin wrote.
He “has been treated by two licensed professionals on a regular basis and has participated in two separate support groups,” Martin wrote.
Polito faces anything from a reprimand to termination when he appears at a disciplinary hearing before the Illinois Courts Commission on charges he violated the judicial code.