Deputy public defender alleges judge denigrated his Jewish heritage and pushed him off a boat

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A deputy public defender in California has alleged that a judge at a 2019 Memorial Day outing called him a “Jew boy” and pushed him off a boat.

Rory Kalin, a deputy public defender in Humboldt County, made those allegations in a lawsuit filed last month against Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis, report the Eureka Times-Standard and the Jewish News of Northern California.

Kalin says the push aggravated a head injury that he received in April 2019 when he was hit by a golf ball. He was hospitalized in June 2019 for nine days, suffering from seizures, increased anxiety and panic attacks. He remains on medical leave.

Kalin says the wife of his immediate supervisor had organized the camping trip at Lake Shasta over the Memorial Day weekend in 2019. During the outing, the suit says, Kalin observed Elvine-Kreis “drinking large quantities of alcohol and becoming belligerent and intoxicated.”

While on a boat ride, Elvine-Kreis began calling Kalin a “Jew boy” and made fun of his Jewish heritage “in a demeaning and unwelcome manner,” the suit alleges. The judge also told Kalin that he was “dressed like an old man,” according to the suit.

Elvine-Kreis then “took his attack on plaintiff a step further by shoving him” into Lake Shasta, the suit claims. “This was an intentional shove, and plaintiff had no time to react.”

Kalin says he was fully clothed when Elvine-Kreis pushed him into the water. His cellphone was “completely ruined,” and he lost a lot of important information. Kalin also lost his car keys, wallet and prescription medication in the lake.

Before the incident, Kalin says, he was a highly valued member of the public defender’s office with “above average” and “outstanding” evaluations. Afterward, colleagues distanced themselves, and Kalin was subjected to harassment and discrimination, according to the suit.

Kalin alleges that the judge’s behavior was covered up in the public defender’s office. He also claims that then-public defender Marek Reavis took steps to demote and terminate him while he was on medical leave.

The suit seeks damages for assault, battery, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and religion-based interference with his civil rights.

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