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Arkansas judge accused of sexual relationships with defendants resigns after photos found

by Brandon Riddle | May 9, 2016 at 12:07 p.m. | Updated May 9, 2016 at 3:04 p.m.

A Cross County judge accused by a state panel of abuse of authority and engaging in sexual relationships with male defendants has resigned from his post, effective immediately.

In a statement Monday, the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced the resignation of part-time District Judge Joseph Boeckmann Jr. of Wynne, marking the end of the panel's investigation.

“I further promise to never seek employment as a local, county or state employee or public servant in the State of Arkansas,” his resignation letter read.

Boeckmann sent the letter to the commission’s executive director, David Sachar, about 10:57 a.m. Monday morning. That letter, which did not include a detailed explanation behind his departure, was also copied to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Had Boeckmann not resigned Monday, Sachar said, the commission would have filed an amended complaint to include more specific conduct and additional alleged victims.

Among the additional evidence the commission said it had recently obtained were images of young men, many naked, “in various poses inside the judge’s home and outside in his yard.”

About 1,050 photos had been taken from the judge's computer, and the panel anticipated "receiving in excess of 3,400 more photographs very soon," Sachar wrote in a letter dated Friday to the judge’s attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig.

“We identified many of the young men as those that your client [Boeckmann] had in front of him as defendants in Cross County District Court," Sachar said.

Sachar called the discovery "a turning point" in the investigation. Friday's letter to Rosenzweig included an opportunity for Boeckmann to resign after the latest accusations, providing a response deadline of noon Monday.

“The lengthy, detailed analysis of some of the evidence that came out last week made a difference," he said. "I also think there’s certain witnesses out there that came forward that were key.”

The commission's executive director said his office received a call Friday from Rosenzweig indicating that a letter dated Monday would be sent.

In November, the commission filed its initial complaint, which included allegations that the judge had broken 14 judicial ethics rules by offering young white men lenient rulings in court if they agreed to perform sexual favors. Boeckmann, represented by Rosenzweig, denied the allegations in December.

The commission added allegations in January that included the judge asking a teenager about being “paddled” and offering a defendant $300 if he posed nude, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

At least 12 alleged victims had been named, Sachar said, estimating that there were "several dozen more, if not 100 or more." As part of its case, the state panel also filed a motion for evidence of past conduct, with the commission concluding that there was a pattern of alleged misconduct dating back to the 1970s.

No criminal charges have been filed against Boeckmann, and Sachar declined to comment on the possibility of such charges at a later date. He added that the commission's findings have been turned over to prosecutors for review.

An attempt to reach Rosenzweig for comment on behalf of the judge was not successful Monday afternoon.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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