Former Arkansas judge indicted for linking sentences to sex favors

(Reuters) - A former Arkansas judge has been indicted on federal bribery, wire fraud and witness tampering charges on suspicion of returning light punishments against defendants who provided him with sexual favors, a court document unsealed on Monday said.

The indictment accused Joseph Boeckmann, a former district court judge, of using his position “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 most serious charges each carry up to 20 years in prison.

Jeff Rosenzweig, an attorney for Boeckmann, was not immediately available for comment.

Boeckmann resigned in May after being accused by a state panel of trading sentence reductions for sexual favors with defendants.

The 21-count federal indictment charges Boeckmann with offering to dismiss the case of two young men in exchange for the defendants being photographed naked or being paddled on their bare buttocks, the indictment said.

Boeckmann, 70, is accused of giving sentences of “community service,” where defendants would do work around his home. He is also accused of filing false paperwork to cover up what he did, it said.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, charged with overseeing judges, said earlier this year investigators had recovered images belonging to Boeckmann, including “numerous photos of naked young men from behind bending over after an apparent paddling.”