A disciplinary panel has suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin from the bench — with pay — while he awaits trial on misconduct charges in the “porngate” scandal.
Eakin is accused of receiving dozens of pornographic and racially insensitive emails on a private email account, and sending some to others.
The state Court of Judicial Discipline, which enforces sanctions against judges in the state, suspended Eakin late Tuesday, the day after Eakin apologized for the emails in a lengthy hearing in Easton.
In an order issued late Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the court suspended Eakin with pay, calling his emails “insensitive and inappropriate toward matters involving regarding gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity.”
In a 52-page filing earlier this month, the Judicial Conduct Board charged Eakin with violating the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct. The filing includes detailed descriptions of dozens of sexually explicit emails, as well as emails with jokes that demean women, minorities, and religious groups.
Eakin next faces a public trial before the same court that issued the suspension order. No trial date has been set.
Though Eakin received all of the emails at issue on a private account, they became public because some of those sending them used government email.
The emails were provided to disciplinary authorities by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who discovered them in a review of the Sandusky child abuse case. She’s since appointed a special prosecutor to review more than a million emails traded by government employees.
Though Eakin apologized for the email at the hearing Monday, he said his conduct was legal, private, and unrelated to his duties on the court