Federal authorities charged a former Arkansas state judge Monday with allegedly dismissing traffic citations and misdemeanor criminal charges for young men in exchange for “acts” he claimed were “community service,” trading sex, officials allege.
Judge O. Joseph “Joe” Boeckmann, 70, of Wynne, Arkansas, was charged with eight counts of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, 11 counts related to bribery and two counts of witness tampering in an indictment filed on Oct. 4, 2016, in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Boeckmann was arrested today.
The indictment against Boeckmann was also unsealed today.
As alleged in the indictment, from 2010 to 2015, Boeckmann served as a district judge for the First Judicial District of Arkansas.
In his capacity as a district judge, Boeckmann dismissed traffic citations and misdemeanor criminal charges for young men in exchange for acts that he claimed were “community service,” but which actually benefited Boeckmann himself.
The indictment alleges that on some occasions, Boeckmann used his access to these individuals during their purported “community service” in order to take photographs of the men in compromising positions. On other occasions, he allegedly dismissed cases in exchange for photographing the men while they were naked, among other things.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The FBI investigated this case.
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
(KARK INVESTIGATIVE REPORT)
An Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after he was notified by a state commission that sexually explicit photos had been recovered from his computer.
Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann was charged by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission in November, accused of having sex with defendants, demanding defendants take sexually explicit photos, among other charges. The Arkansas Supreme Court removed his docket indefinitely, and as of Monday the judge will no longer hold his position.
According to public documents, the judge’s resignation came after being notified by the commission that its investigators had identified defendants in more than a thousand photos depicting young men posing naked inside and outside the judge’s home. The photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and asked the judge to be on notice he was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos.
According to the documents, the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and asked the judge to be on notice he was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos. The JDDC estimated nearly 4,500 photos were turned over to investigators, who were still working to identify all the young men in the photos as of Friday.
Also, on Friday, the JDDC filed a document outlining investigators believed the judge’s sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney and private attorney in Arkansas. According to the filing on Friday, several individuals said at the time they were teens in Wynne, they were told by DPA Boeckmann their charges were dismissed after being subjected to being photographed.
According to one man, he had two run-ins with the judge when he was a DPA, including one scenario where he alleged Boeckmann took him to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom. The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him “case dismissed” at the conclusion of the photo shoot.
According to the judge’s resignation letter, he has agreed to never seek public office in the state of Arkansas. JDDC executive director David Sachar has said in the past that information the commission received that was criminal in nature had been turned over to law enforcement agencies, both federal and state.
We have not been able to receive any information on the state criminal investigation, due to a gag order Circuit Judge Chris Morledge has had in place since August 2015, barring anyone from speaking to the media regarding the investigation.
We’re told, and the judge’s filings in the case in response to the allegations confirm, an ongoing federal investigation is underway. The FBI has not been willing to comment on the case up to this point.
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