By Lynne Hayes-Freeland

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former district magistrate in Rankin pleaded guilty to some charges he was facing in connection to allegations that the offered favorable rulings in exchange for sex.

Ross Cioppa will spend four years on probation and six months on house arrest. He was the district justice in Rankin for 13 years.

Cioppa had been charged with bribery, indecent assault and official oppression after two women came forward saying he made sexual advances toward them in court and in return, he would help their cases.

A statement from one of the women in court read: “I went to him for help. He made my life a living hell.”

The bribery charges were withdrawn and Cioppa pleaded guilty to official oppression and indecent assault.

“I just want to make it very clear – this is not a win – I’m not going to try to spin this,” Phillip DiLucente, Cioppa’s attorney, said. “This is a death to his professional career and this has hurt him both professionally and personally.”

Cioppa told the court medications he is taking may be the reason for his behavior.

“None of us are medical doctors,” DiLucente continued. “I think that’s why it was proper and appropriate Judge Rangos had ordered a mental health evaluation so that this can be dealt with properly, appropriately and how it is supposed to.”

Cioppa told the court he was pleading guilty because he was guilty.

“It could have been the medication I was taking. I am remorseful. I know I can’t turn the time back.”

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