Ala. judge cleared of sex abuse in inmate spanking - Montgomery Alabama news.

Ala. judge cleared of sex abuse in inmate spanking

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A former Alabama judge has been cleared of charges that he spanked and sexually abused male inmates. Former Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas was found not guilty on seven counts Monday. Judge Claud Neilson threw out the remaining charges. Thomas wept and hugged his wife and supporters. He left court without comment. As he left, one supporter threw her hands in the air and shouted, "Thank you Jesus." Other supporters gathered in a circle to pray.

Defense attorneys had painted the 48-year-old as a prominent civic leader who became a victim of felons who lied about him to manipulate the court system. Prosecutors said Thomas brought 11 young male inmates to a private courthouse office and severely paddled their bare bottoms for sexual gratification. Some of the inmates testified they had sexual contact with the judge.

District Attorney John Tyson said he was extremely disappointed by the outcome. He said it was a difficult case to prosecute because young men with criminal records were testifying against a man who served as a judge for 17 years.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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