US & Canada

Arkansas judge who 'traded sexual favours' in return for lighter sentences indicted

Joseph Boeckmann is shown in a black and white 2004 photo Image copyright AP
Image caption Joseph Boeckmann (pictured) faces 21 separate charges

A retired Arkansas judge has been charged with fraud and bribery for allegedly giving lighter sentences to male defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts.

Joseph Boeckmann resigned in May after dozens of men claimed he paid them to allow him to spank them with a paddle and to take photos of the red skin.

He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance in Little Rock on Monday.

Mr Boeckmann, 70, was later remanded in custody.

He faces 21 counts on federal charges that include wire fraud, witness tampering, and bribery.

'Among the worst'

The indictment accuses Mr Boeckmann of "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 misdemeanour criminal cases in exchange for dismissing the cases".

At least one of his alleged victims was only 16, the indictment states.

It has also been alleged the former Cross County District Court judge also allegedly had more than 4,600 photos of nude or semi-nude men on his computer.

Mr Boeckmann resigned earlier this year after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with men accused of crimes dating back to his time as a prosecutor decades earlier.

The head of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which conducted the initial investigation, has called the allegations "if not the worst, among the worst cases of judicial misconduct'' in state history.

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