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Federal Judge Resigns Amid Sex Harassment Controversy (1)

Feb. 18, 2020, 10:26 PM; Updated: Feb. 18, 2020, 11:02 PM

U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia resigned amid renewed attention to sex harassment allegations.

Murguia, who has sat in the District of Kansas since 1999, notified the White House of his resignation after a U.S. House committee earlier this month questioned the adequacy of the judiciary’s handling of allegations against him.

“In recent months, it has become clear that I can no longer effectively serve the Court in this capacity,” Murguia said in his resignation letter.

Murguia was reprimanded in September by the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit after it found he made sexually suggestive comments to female court employees.

The council also found that Murguia “was less than candid” about his misconduct, saying his “apologies appeared more tied to his regret that his actions were brought to light than an awareness of, and regret for, the harm he caused to the individuals involved.”

The reprimand was the most severe sanction available to the judiciary, which doesn’t have the power to remove a judge.

The House Judiciary Committee questioned the Tenth Circuit’s handling of the matter at a Feb. 13 hearing on the judiciary’s efforts to address workplace harassment in the #MeToo era.

At that hearing, a former clerk to late Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit accused the liberal lion of sex harassment. She detailed her failed attempts report the harassment to the judiciary and her law school.

Murguia will remain on the bench until April 1 and his cases will be reassigned, said Chief Judge Julie Robinson of the Kansas district.

Robinson added that Murguia resigned “without eligibility for pension or any retirement benefits.”

(Updates to add context regarding allegations, Feb. 13 hearing.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com; Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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