Judge Philip Kirk

On Monday, Judge Philip Kirk of Wisconsin sentenced Delton D. Gorges, a 71-year-old former bus driver, to seven years in prison. Gorges was convicted on charges of sexually assaulting boys, after pleading no contest.

Judge Kirk had some odd words for the defendant at sentencing. Most notably, he told Gorges: “I think you were born gayer than a sweet-smelling jock strap.”

(I’m sorry, but is anyone else finding this transcript a little titillating? Maybe even Judge Kirk?)

Judge Kirk — today’s Judge of the Day, naturally — also expressed skepticism toward Gorges’s claim of heterosexuality: “I think that if anyone believes that in the last 10 years or 15 years all of a sudden you developed an interest in homosexuality and young boys, then I must have looked ravishing in my prom dress this year.”

(Well, Your Honor, you do wear a little black dress — well before the start of cocktail hour.)

Okay. Can we get some context up in here?

Would a jock strap by any other name still smell as sweet?

Interestingly enough, Judge Kirk was actually expressing sympathy for Delton Gorges. In a nutshell, the judge theorized that Gorges is a closeted gay man who, because he couldn’t live openly as a gay man, resorted to molesting little boys.

Here are collected comments from His Honor (via Fox 11 and the ABA Journal):

  • “I think you were born gayer than a sweet-smelling jockstrap.”
  • “I think that you lived your life as a lie all of your years. And I don’t doubt that you engaged in heterosexual behaviors — you got married and had a child. But it was all a lie.”
  • “I think you’re one of the victims here as well. I think you’re a victim of society.”
  • “No one knew there was a closet to come out of in those days. You know you had to be very careful, because you could have found your penis floating in the Wolf as walleye bait. It was a terrible life to have to live.”

Gay or straight, Gorges probably wouldn’t haven’t enjoyed getting his male member nibbled on by walleye.

Judge Kirk may have been well-intentioned, but his comments didn’t go over well with some members of the LGBT community:

“Sometimes people don’t say the right thing, but they potentially mean well,” said Andrew DeBaker, Co-Chair of [the gay rights group] New Pride.

“The thing that concerns me [about Judge Kirk's remarks] is the linking homosexuality, linking being gay with, in this case, child molestation.”

Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, agreed with the problematic connection, describing Judge Kirk’s remarks as “unfortunate.”

But this probably isn’t going anywhere, since defense counsel wasn’t troubled by Judge Kirk’s comments. Gorges’s attorney, Tom Johnson, said of Judge Kirk, “He will tell you what he is thinking, even if the expression of those thoughts is unconventional.”

Were Judge Kirk’s remarks offensive? Check out the sentencing for yourself — yay for cameras in the courtroom! — over here. (The jock strap quip appears at around the 40-second mark.)

Judge Says Molestation Defendant Is ‘Gayer than a Sweet Smelling Jock Strap’ [ABA Journal]
Waupaca County judge calls defendant “gayer than a sweet smelling jock strap” [Fox 6]
Video: Judge Philip Kirk’s remarks [Fox 11]
Reaction to area judge’s blunt comments [Fox 11]
Former New London bus driver Delton Gorges sent to prison for sexual assaults of children [Appleton Post Crescent]


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