Former Creek County judge ordered to trial on indecent exposure charges
Tuesday, January 3rd 2006, 5:34 am
By: News On 6
BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- Former Judge Donald Thompson was ordered to stand trial on indecent exposure charges Tuesday after his former court clerk testified that he often masturbated during trial and once shaved his pubic area while on the bench.
Lisa Foster, who worked for the former Creek County judge for 15 years, was the only witness called in his preliminary hearing.
She testified that after months of hearing a stranger whooshing noise during trials she saw Thompson masturbating during witness testimony in February 2001 using a pump device. Foster said she saw Thompson's penis in a plastic tube while he was on the bench.
"He had a bulb in his hand and was squeezing," she said. "Whenever he would squeeze the bulb I would hear the noise."
Foster said she saw Thompson's penis while he masturbated during several trials from 2001 to 2003 but was afraid to go to police.
"I didn't want to lose my job," she said. "I didn't want to do something that would hurt him and his family."
She testified that over time he became bolder and used the pump when no one was testifying. She said she once saw him shaving his pubic area during a trial.
Thompson fired Foster in September 2003 just as an investigation into the judge's behavior was beginning.
Thompson's attorney, Clark Brewster, questioned Foster's credibility on cross examination. He later told reporters her testimony differed greatly from her previous accounts, but did not offer specifics.
After two hours of testimony, Judge James Bland ordered Thompson bound over for trial. Thompson faces arraignment Jan. 26 on four counts of indecent exposure and one count alleging misuse of a state computer.
Bland, an associate district judge in Pittsburg County, was appointed to the case in December after another appointed judge withdrew from hearing testimony.
Thompson's attorneys had asked Craig County Associate District Judge Gary Maxey to recuse himself because he once talked about the case with a lawyer who later became a potential witness.
Prosecutors charged Thompson nearly a year ago with three counts of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself by using a sexual device known as a "penis pump" under his robe while presiding over two murder trials and a civil trial in 2003.
Thompson denies the allegations and said the penis pump seized in the case was a gag gift from a friend.
His lawyers have successfully argued for repeated delays in the case.
His Sept. 26 trial date was postponed after a judge quashed a 350-member jury pool based on a defense motion. Thompson's lawyers argued that the group was unacceptable because another judge who had recused himself from the case had participated in assembling the jurors.
A second trial date was postponed after prosecutors added another count of indecent exposure and a new charge of misuse of a state computer. Thompson had waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the earlier counts, but his attorneys argued for a new hearing after the additions.
Thompson, who served as a judge for more than 20 years, retired in August 2004 after being threatened with removal from the bench.