Former judge accused of lowering sentences for sexual favors

Courtroom

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UPI) — A former judge in Arkansas is accused of trading bribes and sex for reduced sentences in traffic and misdemeanor criminal cases, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Disgraced District Judge Joseph Boeckmann was indicted Monday on eight counts of wire fraud, one count of bribery, 10 counts of travel act and two counts of witness tampering on allegations of offering deals to several male defendants between 2009 and 2015.

The 21-count indictment follows allegations from nine men between the ages of 16 and 22 charged with traffic, drug and misdemeanor crimes who claimed sexual misconduct by the judge, including photographing them nude or spanking them, among other acts.

“It was a purpose of Boeckmann’s scheme and artifice to defraud for Boeckmann to benefit himself by corruptly using his official position as an Arkansas district judge to obtain personal services, sexual contact and the opportunity to view and to photograph in compromising positions persons who appeared before him in traffic and misdemeanor criminal cases in exchange for dismissing the cases,” prosecutors write in the indictment unsealed Monday.

Boeckmann would offer to dismiss cases in exchange for “community service,” giving defendants his personal cell phone number to set up the service and instructing them not to discuss the arrangement.

The judge has been suspended since November 2015 with pay for ethics violations and will be held in custody until Wednesday when he is expected back in court to request bond.