(CN) — For the second time in less than two weeks, a small-town New York judge has pleaded guilty to going easy on defendants in exchange for sexual favors, the state attorney general announced Friday.
With a population of 2,202, Fowler barely registers a blip on the map of St. Lawrence County, which borders Canada. The town got some unwelcome attention late last year, however, after one of its judges became the subject of a state investigation.
Judge Paul M. Lamson resigned from his post on the Fowler Justice Court in December amid whispers that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been investigating him for crimes that were “sexual in nature.”
Schneiderman’s office revealed more details — but not many — on Friday, in announcing Lamson’s guilty plea to a felony charge of receiving a bribe and one count of official misconduct.
“Judges who exploit their positions in exchange for sexual favors show blatant disregard for their victims, the trust of the general public, and the judicial system as a whole,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “We will continue working with our partners in law enforcement to root out public corruption and hold those individuals responsible accountable.”
In his guilty plea on Friday, Lamson admitted to keeping at least one defendant out of prison in return for sexual favors.
Court papers said that Lamson continued to “engage in sexual relations with that individual between July 2015 and November 2016,” and issued favorable rulings for that person during that time.
Prosecutors reveal no specifics on the defendant or the case over which Lamson presided.
Lamson is expected to face up to between two and six years in prison at his June 1 sentencing.
Just a 40-minute drive away in West Carthage, N.Y., former Village Justice Delmar House pleaded guilty to reducing a defendant’s fine in return for sexual favors on Feb. 24.
Coincidentally, West Carthage’s population — 2,012 in its most recent census — is almost identical to Fowler’s.
House is expected to receive up to a six-month sentence, with an additional five years of probation.