Arkansas Judge Resigns Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

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A judge in Arkansas has resigned and agreed to never again serve on the bench after he was accused of arranging bond conditions or the release of female defendants in exchange for sexual favors, according to official documents.

The judge, Timothy Parker, who has denied the allegations, resigned on Saturday through a letter to the Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson. In the letter, he said he understood that by stepping down he would no longer be eligible to serve as a judge in any capacity in Arkansas.

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced Mr. Parker’s resignation and his removal from Carroll County District Court in a news release on Tuesday. The announcement, which included a copy of his resignation letter and the commission’s letter to him outlining the allegations, was obtained by email on Wednesday from the commission’s executive director, David J. Sachar.

The commission, which investigates judges who are accused of misconduct or for disabilities that prevent them from doing their jobs, said Mr. Parker continued to deny the allegations, but that he resigned as part of a negotiated resolution to avoid being formally charged with judicial conduct violations. The statement said he was concerned about the impact litigation would have on his family, and that his term was about to expire anyway.

According to state records, Mr. Parker was accepted into the Arkansas Judiciary in 1991. He served as a municipal court judge in Eureka Springs, in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas, from 1999 to 2004, and then was appointed as a judge in district court in 2013, the commission said.

In its letter outlining the case against Mr. Parker, the commission alleged that from approximately 2013 to 2016, he “engaged in a pattern of personal relationships with many female litigants” that included setting favorable bond conditions or releasing the women from jail without bail.

“The bond or release of these women or their family or friends were done by their request in exchange for sexual favors,” the commission’s statement said.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Christine Hauser