On October 18, 2016, the New York Post reported that a 70-year-old former judge was accused of sexual abuse and misconduct after he allegedly gave lesser sentences to defendants appearing in cases before him in exchange for receiving sexual contact and lewd photographs of them. Joseph Boeckmann of Arkansas is accused of paying some of his subjects in exchange for spanking them and taking nude photos of them. Some of his victims have alleged that the former judge, who resigned from his position in May after an investigation, offered them community service in order to avoid paying court fees. Many of the community service assignments took place at the then-judge’s home where he would take photos of the victims (all of whom are men) in sexually compromising positions and situations. This horrific conduct has allegedly gone on for decades and investigations by a state judiciary board uncovered that Boeckmann had thousands of nude photos of men.
The ex-judge also allegedly had an accomplice bribe and threaten witnesses using various methods of intimidation. He faces a 21-count indictment, including counts of bribery and fraud, and is accused of using his position of power to advance his own sexual desires and services. Boeckmann has pled not guilty, but faces decades in prison and hundreds of thousands in fines if convicted.
One of the greatest concerns we have with respect to sexual exploitation and sex trafficking is that the most vulnerable members of our society do not get the adequate legal protections they need. Looking to the Palermo Protocol, it is evident that the fraudulent and deceptive acts of the judge by using his position of authority over the vulnerable defendants in order to control them rises to the level of sexual exploitation. The judge allegedly exerted his power and authority over his victims in such a way that their reliance on his lies and deception caused them to be sexually exploited for his own personal gain.
The CSE Institute is gravely concerned about reports such as these. The actions of this former judge represent exactly what we advocate against, as it is sexual exploitation at its core. Ultimately, the fact that people in the most esteemed of professional positions are being accused of sexually exploiting their subjects demonstrates that the issues related to sexual exploitation and human trafficking are far and wide and do not discriminate based on class, gender, age or other demographic lines.
 To read more about this topic, see Dempsey, Michelle Madden. “Decriminalizing Victims of Sex Trafficking.” Villanova Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper Series (Villanova University School of Law Public Law and Legal Theory), no. 2014-2015 (2014).