They say that justice is blind, but not apparently in the case of Arkansas judge Joseph Boeckmann. The Cross County jurist stepped down from his post on May 9 following the discovery of thousands of nude photos of male defendants on his computer.
Boeckmann has been under fire since November, accused of abuse of power and failure to disclose several conflicts of interest. But apparently the resignation came about when his lawyers received a letter on May 5 from the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, saying that they were in the process of recovering up to 4,500 photos from Boeckmann’s computer. According to NBC News, those photos are all of young men, most of them nude, in various poses both inside and outside the judge’s home. The letter from the state commission says that many of the men had appeared in front of Boeckmann in court, where he would give them sentences of “community service.” That community service would involve picking up trash or doing other chores around the judge’s house.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says that the judicial commission’s original report in November charged that Boeckmann had broken numerous judicial rules by offering young white men more lenient judgments in exchange for sexual favors. In January the commission added charges that Boeckmann had offered one defendant $300 to pose nude, and had asked a teenage defendant about paddling. Many of the photos that were discovered subsequent to those charges show men bending over after apparently being paddled.
According to David Sachar, executive director of the judicial commission, 12 of the judge’s victims have been named, and there are “several dozen more, if not 100 or more.” Boeckmann had earlier claimed that the photos of defendants were to prove that they had completed their “community service.” But the number of photos coupled with the apparent lack of an explanation of why many of the defendants in them would be performing community service in the nude brought the matter to a head.
Boeckmann submitted his resignation in a letter sent to Sachar on Monday morning. In the letter he promised to “never seek employment as a local, county or state employee or public servant in the State of Arkansas.” Sachar said that had the judge not stepped down, the commission was prepared to file additional charges and name more victims. Currently there have been no criminal charges filed against the judge, and Sachar wouldn’t comment on whether any would be forthcoming. Files from the case have been turned over to prosecutors for review.
So while some of the country has been worried about “perverts” in women’s bathrooms, it appears that they should be more concerned about perverts in positions of power, like now former judge Joe Boeckmann.
Here’s a summary of the case, from KNOE:
Featured image via Pinknews