Arkansas Judge Joe Boeckmann, who allegedly had inappropriate sexual relations with defendants for more than 30 years, resigned on Monday after officials confirmed thousands of sexually explicit photos were found on his computer. In some cases, the photos were of defendants in cases the judge was assigned to oversee.
The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission began investigating the former judge when rumors emerged that he coerced numerous defendants to perform sexual favors in exchange for lighter sentences.
Documents provided by the commission allegedly prove former Judge Joe Boeckmann paid defendants to visit his home under questionable circumstances.
According to reports, Boeckmann had a preference for white men, who he encouraged to masturbate on camera. Some of the young men, who were teens at the time, said Boeckmann told them their charges would be dismissed if they visited his home and agreed to be photographed.
One man, whose identity was not revealed, confessed he had a sexual liaison with the former judge. In an official statement, he said Boeckmann took him back to the courthouse after it closed for the day and made him remove his clothing. The man said he was then handcuffed and forced to pose for photos. The man confirmed Boeckmann eventually paid him $50 for the photos and made sure his “case was dismissed.”
The former judge is further accused of striking the defendants’ bottoms with a paddle in exchange for paying or canceling any fees or fines owed to the court. The commission confirmed they plan to file a subpoena to force former Judge Joe Boeckmann to surrender the paddle as evidence.
The commission’s executive director, David Sachar, lambasted the judge, saying he was an insult to the Arkansas justice system. He said, “he’s a criminal predator who used his judicial power to feed his corrupt desires.”
— Susie Blackmon (@SusieBlackmon) May 10, 2016
The former judge is facing some disturbing accusations. However, he has not been formally charged with any crime despite having his letter of resignation forwarded to state and federal law enforcement authorities as well as a special state prosecutor. The FBI has refused to comment on the investigation.
Sachar confirmed the former judge began having inappropriate relationships with defendants 30 years ago when he served as a deputy prosecutor and private attorney.
The executive director also said the commission is investigating allegations that former Judge Joe Boeckmann attempted to bribe one of the defendants to prevent him from speaking with commission investigators.
David Sachar also confirmed the panel unearthed hundreds of checks written from Boeckmann’s business and personal accounts, which were reportedly used to pay attorney fees and court fines for numerous defendants. He said the commission was contemplating whether to turn the information over to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
— Marci Manley (@Marci_Manley) January 15, 2016
According to Fox News, the part-time Cross County District Judge’s resignation is effective immediately. In a public statement, Boeckmann said he will not seek future employment in the state of Arkansas as a local, county, or state employee or public servant.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has appointed Judge Chris Morledge to preside over former Judge Joe Boeckmann’s case, which is scheduled for November in the Wynne division of Cross County, approximately 100 miles northeast of Arkansas.
Judge Morledge has issued a gag order to prevent anyone from discussing the case pending a state criminal investigation.
Washington Post reports, this is not the first time that a judge was accused of having sexual relations with people in their courtroom. Earlier this year, Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts announced his retirement after a Utah woman accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was just 16-years-old and a high-profile witness in a murder case.
With the exception of his letter of resignation, former Judge Joe Boeckmann has not discussed the charges he is facing.
[Image via Kaspars Grinvald/Shutterstock]