Alaska federal judge resigns after sexual harassment investigation, panel says

July 8 (Reuters) – An Alaska federal judge who unexpectedly resigned last week forced his staff to work in hostile conditions and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a judicial 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 former President Donald Trump who resigned from his lifetime position on Wednesday after joining the bench in 2020.

The Council in its order of 23 Mayopens a new tab on Monday said he had asked for the judge’s resignation and referred his case to the federal judicial branch’s highest decision-making body for consideration by Congress, which could then consider a rare impeachment proceeding against a federal judge.

“The judicial branch is vested with self-government and, as such, must hold its federal judges to the highest standards of integrity and impartiality,” U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary Murguia said in a statement.

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

The order said the investigation determined Kindred created a hostile work environment for his employees by frequently using inappropriate language and discussing his sex life, their relationships and his “disparaging” views of coworkers and public figures.

The commission of inquiry found that Kindred had an “extremely close relationship” with one of the female officials and that a week after Kindred started working at the prosecutor’s office, she invited her for a drink, kissed her and grabbed her buttocks.

The commission found that several days later, the clerk testified that the judge invited her to the apartment where he lived, asked her to lie on the bed with him and performed oral sex on her.

The Judicial Council found that Kindred later lied to the investigative committee by denying that he had sexual contact with the official.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Miral Fahmy

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Nate Raymond covers federal courts and litigation. He can be reached at [email protected].