A former judge in the American state of Arkansas – Joseph Boeckmann – accused of trading lighter sentences in exchange of sexual favours, was indicted on Monday (17 October) on charges of federal bribery, fraud and witness tampering. Boeckmann, who resigned in May, was reportedly giving minimal sentences to male defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts.

According to the 21-count federal indictment, Boeckmann offered to dismiss the case of two persons in lieu of the defendants being photographed naked or being paddled on their bare buttocks, Reuters reported. The 70-year-old ex-Arkansas judge had previously denied the allegations through his lawyer.

The indictment has also accused the former district court judge of using his power "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 charges that Boeckmann now faces include eight counts of wire fraud, two counts of witness tampering, one count of federal programme bribery and 10 counts of violating the federal Travel Act. The most serious accusations each carry up to 20 years of jail term.

He was processed and booked Monday evening into the Pulaski County Detention Center in Little Rock, online jail records showed.

According to the court document, one of his alleged victims was only 16. It has also been found that the former judge had more than 4,600 photos of nude or semi-nude men on his computer.

The head of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which conducted the initial inquiry, has called the charges "if not the worst, among the worst cases of judicial misconduct'' in state history.