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Viewing porn could cost judge

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A Salina, Kan., judge who used his office computer to view pornography will lose his job if the Kansas Supreme Court follows the recommendation of a judicial conduct commission.

The Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which last month heard testimony about Saline County District Judge George Robertson, said Thursday the high court should remove him from the bench for violating rules meant to uphold the judiciary’s integrity and avoid impropriety.

Two of the three men on the seven-member panel wrote in a dissent that Robertson should just be censured publicly and possibly suspended without pay.

Robertson’s attorney, Steve Robison of Wichita, said his client has not decided how to respond to the recommendation.

“We’re reviewing it and studying our options,” Robison said Thursday.

Robertson was put on paid leave in February, after a county computer technician noticed he had visited 38 sexually explicit Internet sites and five sites related to dating services from his county-owned office computer.

On May 25, Robertson told the commission he viewed the sites because “private and personal matters led me to seek an inappropriate escape.”

He was an elder at his church, which he said took between 15 and 35 hours a week, before resigning from that post in February. A psychologist told the commission Robertson suffered from anxiety and depression, and called his Internet activity “an episode of avoidant behavior” he was unlikely to repeat.

The dissenting panel members cited Robertson’s cooperation with the commission and the psychologist’s report in their recommendation.

Robertson has 20 days to file objections.
If he does, the commission can respond.

He also can appear before the state Supreme Court when it takes up the matter, which a spokesman said probably would be the week of Sept. 6.


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