Ex-judge gets 5 years for trading lighter sentences for sexual favors

By Ray Downs  |  Feb. 21, 2018 at 11:26 PM
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Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A former Arkansas judge was sentenced to five years in federal prison Wednesday for offering lighter sentences to young male defendants in exchange for sexual favors.

Joseph Boeckmann, 71, was also fined $50,000 "to account for the financial harm he caused through his fraud scheme," the Department of Justice said. Boeckmann faced up to 20 years on each count.

Federal prosecutors asked for three years in prison and Boeckmann's attorneys asked for house arrest for their elderly client. But U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker said she handed down a heavier sentence because Boeckmann abused his authority on the bench, the Arkansas Times reported.

Boeckmann was indicted in 2016 and pleaded guilty the following year to the wire fraud and witness tampering charges.

According to the indictment, Boeckmann would "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."

The indictment cites nine individuals between the ages of 16 and 22 who appeared before him for minor crimes, including traffic citations and marijuana possession.

Prosecutors said Boeckmann conducted his scheme by telling the individuals they could get their case dismissed if they performed community service by picking up cans or litter at his residence. But instead of recycling, Boeckmann had the individuals take off their clothes and be photographed as they got paddled on their bare buttocks and performed other sexual acts, according to the indictment.

Boeckmann would then dismiss the victims' cases and document that they performed "community service."

Boeckmann resigned in 2016 after the charges surfaced.

He was given 30 days to report to prison to serve out his five-year sentence and undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.

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