Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski resigned on Monday amid claims of sexual misconduct.
“I’ve always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike,” Kozinski said in a statement released by his lawyer. “In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent,” he wrote. “For that, I sincerely apologize.”
Fifteen women claimed that Kozinski had either shown them pornography, touched them inappropriately or made lewd comments to them.
Kozinski praised his former clerks in his statement.
“It has also been my privilege to help train the best and the brightest of several generations of new attorneys,” he wrote. “I was made better by working with them.”
The incident was under investigation when Kozinski resigned.
Federal judges have lifetime terms and can be removed only by Congress, but the court system can sanction them.
The 67-year old judge served 32 years on the bench. He was appointed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.
According to the Washington Post, one former clerk Heidi Bond, who served as a clerk from 2008 to 2014, said Kozinski showed her pornography after calling her into his office and asking her if she thought it was photo-shopped or if it aroused her.
Another clerk said Kozinski repeatedly asked her about working out naked after she talked about the gym at the courthouse.
But several days after the initial story, several other women came forward claiming that Kozinski’s behavior involved touching.
One former law student said Kozinski moved her lapel aside to read her name and then touched her breast at a reception last year. A law professor said he pinched her and touched her leg.
In a 2008 story, the Los Angeles Times reported that Kozinski had an email distribution list that he used to send out sexually themed jokes. The newspaper also reported that he had a publicly accessible website that contained pornographic images.
A judicial investigation ultimately found that Kozinski did not intend to allow material to go public and that Kozinski and his son were careless in securing their private server.