A former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.
Donald Thompson had spent almost 23 years on the bench and had served as a state legislator before retiring from the court in 2004. He showed no reaction when he was sentenced.
At his trial this summer, his former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified that she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times during trial between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he also used a device known as a penis pump during at least four trials in the same period.
Thompson, 59, was convicted last month of four felony courts of indecent exposure for incidents that took place in his Creek County courtroom.
Thompson, a married father of three grown children, testified that the penis pump was given to him as a joke by a longtime hunting and fishing buddy.
“It wasn’t something I was hiding,” he said.
He said he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump’s handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate.
Almost daily whooshing sound
Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. A whooshing sound could be heard on Foster’s audiotape of the trial. When jurors asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn’t heard it but would listen for it.
Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson’s robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.
Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson’s robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.
Carmelia Brossett, a senior probation officer for the state Department of Corrections, said in a presentencing report that Thompson refused to undergo psychosexual testing.
“Thompson’s denial of the offense would likely present difficulty, if not inability for treatment providers to provide meaningful and beneficial sex-offender treatment,” she said.
The jury recommended a sentence of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count. The jury foreman has said it was the jury’s intent that Thompson serve the full sentence.
Judge C. Allen McCall denied a defense motion asking that Thompson be allowed to remain free pending an appeal. Thompson was also ordered to pay a $40,000 fine.