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Family Court Judge Resigns under Fire

October 16, 1987

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A judicial investigation of charges that a family court judge had sexually molested boys halted Thursday when the judge resigned.

Family Court Judge James D. Sloan of Anniston, acquitted in June on charges that he raped a 13-year-old boy while attending a Rhode Island conference on child abuse, had been scheduled for trial Oct. 26 before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

The 43-year-old judge, in a telephone interview from his Anniston home, said he had not spoken with his three attorneys and preferred not to comment on his resignation.

″The decision was made after a lot of thought and consideration and prayer. It was made jointly with my wife,″ he said.

Assistant Attorney General Ed Carnes said Sloan’s resignation from the $70,000-a-year post was effective immediately and the Court of the Judiciary dismissed the charges against him Thursday.

Court officials said Sloan’s resignation left him eligible to draw retirement and related benefits just the same as any other judge who, like Sloan, served on the bench for 10 years before stepping down.

It wasn’t immediately known what level of retirement pay he might receive, or when he would become eligible to receive it.

The judge has been suspended with pay since the Rhode Island charges were brought against him more than a year ago.

Sloan came under investigation by the Judicial Inquiry Commission after his widely reported trial in Providence, R.I., on charges of raping and sodomizing the 13-year-old boy in 1986.

Sloan denied the charges and was found innocent, but several other males alleged that the judge had made sexual advances or molested them. That led to the filing of formal charges by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission.

Sloan denied those claims, but in his letter of resignation to Gov. Guy Hunt he said ″the cumulative effect of all that I have been through would make it difficult for me to continue to function in my capacity as a circuit judge, even if I prevailed in the forthcoming hearing.″

The State Court of the Judiciary functions like a trial court in cases of judicial ethics. It has the power to remove a judge from the bench and impose other penalties.

The complaint accused Sloan, who handled some 600 juvenile cases a year, of engaging in sexual activities with more than 17 youths over a 26-year period, including instances when Sloan was affiliated with the Boy Scouts.