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Arkansas judge resigns after accusations of sexual bartering

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An Arkansas judge has resigned after allegations he granted leniency to female defendants in exchange for sexual favors, a state judicial review commission said on Wednesday.

The judge, Timothy Parker of Eureka Springs, has denied the charges but submitted his resignation on Dec. 30, one day before his term in office was to end, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said.

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Parker was not immediately available for comment.

The terms of Parker’s resignation, submitted to Governor Asa Hutchinson, specify he cannot serve as a judge at any level in Arkansas.

Parker was appointed to the part-time judgeship in 2013 by former Governor Mike Beebe, and was ineligible to seek the office at the polls.

The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said it was investigating Parker on suspicion of granting favors to friends and clients of his part-time law practice who were facing jail sentences in his court.

Parker did not dispute those allegations, it said.

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The commission released a letter it sent to Parker in which it said his actions “exhibit an attitude of bias, conflict of interest and general disregard for the integrity of the judiciary.”

David Sachar, executive director of the commission, said in an interview: “Obviously we gathered a tremendous amount of information and all of it has been turned over to a special prosecutor to determine if criminal charges are warranted.”

Parker is the second Arkansas judge hit with allegations of sexual impropriety in as many years.

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Joseph Boeckmann, a judge in Wynne, Arkansas, resigned after the commission accused him of taking thousands of lewd photographs of young male defendants and sometimes spanking them. In return, it said, he reduced their sentences or paid their fines from his personal funds.

In court papers, Boeckmann said he “denies the allegations of improper demeanor, appearance of impropriety or violations of the criminal law.”

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(Reporting by Steve Barnes; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Dan Grebler)


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WATCH: Franklin Graham tells Jeanine Pirro coronavirus pandemic is because of people sinning

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Franklin Graham blamed sinners for the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News.

Host Jeanine Pirro noted the growing death toll and wondered how God could let that happen.

"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham said.

"It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge," he argued.

"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he continued.

"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God," he added.

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Drought causing water shortage amid coronavirus crisis in Chile

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With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

"There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly.

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Trump warns of ‘tough week’ ahead — after the United States surpassed 300,000 coronavirus victims

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US President Donald Trump warned Americans on Saturday to brace for a "very horrendous" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 300,000 with more than 8,300 deaths, there was some encouraging news in Italy and Spain.

Europe continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, however, accounting for over 45,000 of the worldwide deaths, and Britain reported a new daily high in fatalities.

There are now more than 1.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and there have been 63,437 deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

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