LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- An East Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after he was notified by a state commission that sexually explicit photos had been recovered from his computer.
Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann was charged by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission in November, accused of having sex with defendants, demanding defendants take sexually explicit photos, among other charges. The Arkansas Supreme Court removed his docket indefinitely, and as of Monday the judge will no longer hold his position.
Fox 16 News had first begun looking into rumors around the judge in August 2015, after hearing the JDDC was investigating allegations the judge was forcing defendants to do work on his private property to have sentences reduced.
According to public documents, the judge's resignation came after being notified by the commission that its investigators had identified defendants in more than a thousand photos depicting young men posing naked inside and outside the judge's home. The documents also allege some of the young men had received payments from the judge while also appearing on the judge's docket in district court.
According to the documents, the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and asked the judge to be on notice he was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos. The JDDC estimated nearly 4,500 photos were turned over to investigators, who were still working to identify all the young men in the photos as of Friday.
Also, on Friday, the JDDC filed a document outlining investigators believed the judge's sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney and private attorney in Arkansas. According to the filing on Friday, several individuals said at the time they were teens in Wynne, they were told by DPA Boeckmann their charges were dismissed after being subjected to being photographed.
According to one man, he had two run-ins with the judge when he was a DPA, including one scenario where he alleged Boeckmann took him to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom. The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him "case dismissed" at the conclusion of the photo shoot.
According to the judge's resignation letter, he has agreed to never seek public office in the state of Arkansas. JDDC executive director David Sachar has said in the past that information the commission received that was criminal in nature had been turned over to law enforcement agencies, both federal and state.
We have not been able to receive any information on the state criminal investigation, due to a gag order Circuit Judge Chris Morledge has had in place since August 2015, barring anyone from speaking to the media regarding the investigation.
We're told, and the judge's filings in the case in response to the allegations confirm, an ongoing federal investigation is underway. The FBI has not been willing to comment on the case up to this point.
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