Ninth Circuit Judge Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations (Fortune)

A well-known federal judge stepped down in December following allegations from 15 women who claim that he inappropriately hugged and kissed them and used his judge’s chambers to show female law clerks pornography.

Alex Kozinski served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District in California for 32 years. Former President Ronald Reagan appointed him in 1985. Koszinski served as chief judge of the court from 2007 to 2014.

Kozinski said in a statement that he was stepping down because he could not be an effective judge while he was embroiled in a battle related to the harassment claims. He apologized to the women who accused him, saying, “It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable. This was never my intent. For this, I sincerely apologize.”

The Ninth Circuit has initiated a formal inquiry into the allegations against Kozinski. The formal investigation will be conducted through the federal appeals court in New York in order to ensure impartiality.

Allegations against Kozinski are nothing new. For decades women who have worked for him and women who encountered him at social events have claimed that the judge had acted inappropriately toward them. The LA Times reported in 2008 that Kozinski maintained a public website that features pornographic videos and photos including one of the nude women on their hands and knees painted to look like cows. At the time, Kozinski was the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit.

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