Judge cleared of inmate sex abuse

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A former Alabama judge has been cleared of charges accusing him of paddling and sexually abusing male inmates.

Former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas was found not guilty on seven counts Monday after more than a week of testimony.

A judge threw out the remaining 14 charges.

Defense attorneys say the 48-year-old Thomas was a prominent civic leader who became a victim of felons lying about him to manipulate the court system.

Prosecutors say he brought 11 young male inmates to a private courthouse office and severely paddled their bare bottoms for sexual gratification.

Some testified they had sexual contact with the judge.

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