Central Florida judge accused of lewd molestation, executive order shows

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Central Florida judge is accused of lewd molestation according to a newly signed executive order.

The order comes after Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala informed the Governor that she was voluntarily disqualifying herself from investigating allegations made against Judge Alan Apte and asked that the Governor assign the case to another state attorney.

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Ayala requested the change because Apte is a current circuit court judge in the 9th Judicial Circuit and a former employee of the state attorney’s office.

The order, which is effective immediately, assigns the investigation to State Attorney R.J. Larizza of the 7th Judicial Circuit.

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In a statement, 9th Judicial Circuit Court spokeswoman Karen Connolly Levey said the Court was made aware of the accusations from DeSantis' executive order.

“The Court learned of this matter around 5 p.m. yesterday. The State Attorney for the Ninth Circuit has disqualified herself from investigating or handling any potential case, and the Governor has appointed the state attorney from the Seventh Circuit to investigate. The accusation was first revealed in the Governor’s executive order making the appointment. There are no charges pending. At this time, it is an ongoing investigation.”

The governor’s order does not state what exactly the allegations against Apte are.

Apte is assigned to the civil division and focuses mainly on guardianship, mental health and risk protection cases.

Editors note: Friday on Eyewitness News 10 and 11, We reported Judge Apte had been removed from the bench. He has not been removed from the bench. We regret the error.