(CN) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended Justice Seamus McCaffrey on Monday amid allegations that he sent or received hundreds of pornographic emails over a four-year period.
In its order, the court cited a "compelling and immediate need to protect and preserve" the integrity of state's courts.
Although McCaffrey has been suspended, with pay, on only an "interim basis," the justices also ordered the state's Judicial Conduct Board to determine within 30 days if there is probably cause to file formal judicial misconduct charges against the 64-year-old judge.
According to published reports, the emails, which evidently were exchanged with members of the office of the state attorney general, included explicit sexual content involving women, elderly persons and uniformed school girls.
McCaffrey, a former Marine and Philadelphia police officer, apologized for the explicit email scandal, and tried to explain the controversy away by saying the language used in them was commonplace among police officers and military personnel.
The justice has also claimed the entire matter is the result of a vendetta against him on the part of state Chief Justice Ronald Castille.
After the Supreme Court suspended McCaffrey, Castille issued a statement in which he said: "In my two decades of experience on this court, no other justice ... had done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute."
McCaffrey then issued a statement through a spokesman who said: "Today's action against Justice McCaffery should surprise no one, given Chief Justice Castille's relentless crusade to destroy his career and reputation. We will continue in our efforts to expose the malicious intent behind this effort to take down Justice McCaffery. We are confident that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing and returned to the bench soon."
While the Judicial Conduct Board reviews McCaffery's conduct, he cannot perform any judicial or administrative duties. However, the suspension order will not affect his judicial compensation or his pension.
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