|Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin|
The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board Tuesday charged Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin with violating the state's rules of judicial conduct and the state Constitution by participating knowingly and routinely in chains of sexually suggestive and vulgar or offensive emails.
In a complaint filed with the Court of Judicial Discipline, the board held Eakin, who has been on the court since 2002, violated rules that instruct judges to avoid off-bench activities that create an appearance of impropriety or call into question a judge's impartiality.
Eakin also violated sections of the Constitution, the report alleges, that require judges to remain in compliance with those rules.
Eakin will now face a hearing before the state's Court of Judicial Discipline. Efforts to reach his attorney, William Costopoulos, were not immediately successful.
The current case started in late September, when embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane gave various state agencies about 1,500 emails, including some linked to Eakin, that she believes present violations of rules of judicial conduct and general state ethics codes.
The emails initially turned up in the course of a data-mining process undertaken during Kane's 2013-14 review of her predecessors' handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse investigation.
Eakin had no role in that case.
Rather, his emails - many of who appeared on threads with another Attorney General prosecutor who used to work for Eakin - came under scrutiny after Kane undertook a broader review of pornographic and other inappropriate emails traded back and forth on OAG servers that captured traffic between OAG staffers and Supreme Court justices.
The emails, on a Yahoo.com account, include sexually suggestive pictures of nude women, adult humor and a number of gender, racial and ethnic jokes hat have proven offensive to various groups.
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Pa. Supreme Court justice charged in email scandal