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Federal judge in Alaska resigned after sexual misconduct probe

U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS / 2019
                                Alaska lawyer Joshua Kindred speaks during a judicial nomination hearing at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in Washington in a still image from video.
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U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS / 2019

Alaska lawyer Joshua Kindred speaks during a judicial nomination hearing at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in Washington in a still image from video.

A federal judge in Alaska who abruptly resigned last week subjected his staff to a hostile work environment and engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a law clerk, a U.S. judicial panel said on Monday.

The 9th Circuit Judicial Council publicly reprimanded and admonished U.S. District Judge Joshua Kindred, an appointee of Republican former President Donald Trump who submitted his resignation from his life-tenured position on Wednesday after joining the bench in 2020.

The council in a May 23 order made public on Monday said it had requested his resignation while at the same time referring his case to the federal judiciary’s top policymaking body so it could certify the matter for Congress, which could then weigh pursuing a rare impeachment of a federal judge.

“The judiciary is entrusted to self-govern and, in doing so, must hold its federal judges to the highest standards of integrity and impartiality,” Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Mary Murguia said in a statement.

Kindred, 46, did not respond to requests for comment. He told the council his “great sin here was the fact that during this period of time I treated my law clerks as friends rather than employees,” according to the nine-member panel’s 30-page order.

The order said an investigation found that Kindred created a hostile work environment for his clerks by frequently using inappropriate language and discussing with them his sex life, their relationships and his “disparaging” views of colleagues and public figures.

An investigative committee found that Kindred had an “unusually close relationship” with one of the clerks, and that a week after she began a job in a prosecutor’s office, Kindred asked her out for drinks, kissed her and grabbed her buttocks.

Days later, the clerk said the judge invited her to an apartment he was staying in, asked her to lie down on a bed with him and performed oral sex on her, the committee found.

The Judicial Council said that Kindred later lied to the investigative committee by denying having a sexual encounter with clerk.

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