Probe Sought of Judge's Comments to Female Staff

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MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Midland County court officials have asked Michigan's judicial disciplinary board to investigate a judge accused of making "inappropriate comments" to some female court employees.

The Midland Daily News says the county rejected its state Freedom of Information Act request for a 2012 report on sexual harassment complaints against Midland Chief District Judge John H. Hart, saying the law exempts the judiciary.

The newspaper says three county judges issued a statement saying then-chief county trial Judge Jonathan Lauderbach hired a labor lawyer to investigate.

The judges say the investigator concluded Hart's actions didn't rise "to the level of sexual harassment" but "were inappropriate and merited referral to the Judicial Tenure Commission."

Hart has no listed home phone. The Associate Press left a request for comment on his office phone Sunday.

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