Sexual Misconduct in the Judiciary – Nothing New

They are the one and only group in our country we voluntarily pay to judge us. They are appointed and elected to pass judgment on right and wrong and to shape the laws of this country. And yet, many members of the judiciary make us question the motives behind their acts.

The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette is reporting this week that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCafferty has resigned the bench after alleging getting caught up in an email pornography scandal that also involved employees of the state Attorney General’s Office. McCafferty allegedly either sent to or received from other state employees 234 emails containing sexually explicit or pornographic content.

Sexual misconduct is nothing new among the judiciary of the United States. In fact, we need only look into the recent history for extraordinary examples of judges engaging in sexually charged behavior while sitting on the bench. Many of these tales make Justice McCafferty’s behavior look rather benign.

Former Justice Seamus McCaffery

Justice Seamus McCaffery resigns from Pa. Supreme Court in wake of state email investigation

Sleeping with a Witness

In 2014 Wayne County Michigan Judge Wade McCree was removed from his bench seat after carrying on an affair with a woman while he presided over her child custody case. Unbelievably, McCree had come under fire a few years earlier when he texted a nude photo of himself to his female bailiff.

Stripe Clubs and Prostitution Rings

In Colorado, Chief U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham had to resign from his federal bench post in 2006. Nottingham was accused by his former wife of spending thousands of dollars at strip clubs throughout their marriage. Further, Nottingham was allegedly involved in a prostitution ring that was being investigated by the state and had tried to persuade one of the prostitutes to cover his tracks.

Child Pornography

An Orange County California Superior Court judge, Ronald C. Kline, was sentenced to 27 months in prisons in 2007 after downloading pornographic images of children. Kline wrote in his diary that he would often spend time in shopping malls and Little League games watching children.

Indecent Exposure

Former Oklahoma judge Donald Thompson was convicted of exposing himself while he presided over jury trials for almost 23 years. Thompson was caught using a sex enhancement device, or “penis pump” under his robe while serving on the bench. The judge’s former court reporter testified during his trial that she witnessed Thompson expose himself at least 15 times during trial between 2001 and 2003.

Sleeping with Woman in Chambers

Two California Superior Court judges, Scott Steiner and Cory Woodward, were both censured earlier this year for having sex with woman in their chambers. Steiner allegedly slept with two women and then tried to get his mistress a job with the prosecutor’s office. Woodward slept with his court clerk and then allegedly lied to the court concerning the affair.

Although these are ridiculous and extreme examples of judicial misconduct, sexual assault and misconduct are very severe crimes. Each state has different laws and punishments concerning sex crimes at both the civil and federal level. If you need more information or help with an appeal, please contact Brownstone Law today.

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