Arkansas judge resigns amid sexual misconduct investigation

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An Arkansas judge accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants has resigned.

Part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann resigned Monday, according to David Sachar, the executive director of the state's Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. The Arkansas Supreme Court previously appointed a special judge to hear his cases in the Wynne division of Cross County, about 100 miles northeast of Arkansas, during the investigation.

Boeckmann, who previously denied the allegations against him, agreed he would not ever work in public office again.

"I further promise to never seek employment as a local, county or state employee or public servant in the State of Arkansas. I understand the (commission) will use all legal power it finds necessary to enforce this agreement," he wrote in his letter of resignation dated Monday.

The panel alleges Boeckmann showed preferential treatment to white men and allowed sentencing not recorded on court dockets, including picking up trash at his home. He's accused of taking inappropriate photographs of some defendants during those punishments and later coercing some of them into sexual acts in return for paying their attorney fees.

According to documents obtained from the commission, Sachar notified Boeckmann and his attorney that more photographs had been obtained from Boeckmann's home computers— about 1,050 images in the first installment and another 3,400 more were expected. Sachar wrote that the complaint would likely be amended because of the content of those photographs and additional information, and gave him the opportunity to resign.

Jeff Rosenzweig, Boeckmann's attorney, says he will not make any further comments beyond his resignation letter to the commission.

The administrative charges were originally filed in November after an Arkansas Department of Human Services investigator alleged Boeckmann had reduced the bond against a woman accused of felony theft and abuse of an endangered or impaired person. The DHS employee notified the judicial commission of the possible conflict of interest because the woman was related to a man with whom Boeckmann allegedly had a long-term intimate relationship.

The commission launched a more than yearlong investigation that returned multiple allegations of favoritism for employees of his family members, for a man with whom he was having an alleged sexual relationship and that man's relatives and for young, white, male defendants in general.

The letter noted that the resignation would result in the dismissal of the commission's investigation.

Sachar previously said he had turned part of the investigation file over to prosecutors to determine if Boeckmann would be criminally charged.