Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Federal Judge Alex Kozinski, embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations, announced his immediate retirement on Monday.
Kozinski, 67, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, faced a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected female clerks on his staff to inappropriate sexual behavior.
Fifteen women have accused Kozinski of making inappropriate sexual comments, and four say he touched them inappropriately.
After the first allegation, Judge Sidney Thomas, the 9th Circuit's chief judge, initiated a review of Kozinski's conduct. On Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts transferred Thomas' complaint to the Judicial Council of the Second Circuit -- an indication of the severity of the accusations.
The 2nd Circuit would have presided over a misconduct investigation.
In his retirement statement, Kozinski referred to "a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking."
He added, "It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize."
Kozinski's statement also mentioned that he arrived in the United States from Romania when he was 12 as "a refugee from Communism."