Seamus McCaffery, a 64-year-old Belfast-born judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, has been suspended from the bench after sending lewd pornogrpahy to fellow judges and friends.
The pictures allegedly included one picture of a woman in congress with a snake and another of a 100-year-old naked woman.
The court stated on Monday that McCaffery was suspended with pay on an interim basis and the Judicial Conduct Board will investigate whether to file formal charges.
The suspension came after Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille demanded his colleagues take action and appoint a special prosecutor. Castille attacked McCaffery in strikingly personal terms.
Castille wrote of McCaffery "In my two decades of experience on this court, no other justice...has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute. No other justice has failed to live up to the high ethical demands required of this court or has been the constant focus of ethical lapses to the degree of Justice McCaffery."
McCaffery was born in Belfast the second of seven children to Seamus and Rita McCaffery and came to the US aged five. He served as a police officer and a marine colonel before becoming a judge.
Castille likened him to a sociopath who always blamed others for his conduct. He stated that 230 emails McCaffery sent or received between 2008 and 2012 had extremely graphic sexual images and videos.
Judge Castille stated that an email showed “ a naked 100 year old woman and a video of a woman in sexual congress with a snake.”
He said McCaffery's conduct has caused the Supreme Court to be held up to public ridicule.”
“This court cannot continue to function while Seamus McCaffery sits as a justice,” he wrote.
He also accused McCaffery of fixing his wife's traffic ticket and having his wife run a lucrative law practice out of his office.
Those messages were discovered during State Attorney General Kathleen Kane's re-investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case at Penn State.
McCaffery has admitted he used his personal account to send pornographic emails, but he has accused Castille of a "vindictive pattern of attacks."
Justice Debra McCloskey Todd wrote a dissenting statement Monday, saying McCaffery was owed due process, particularly given the personal venom in this case.
"Yet, today, based upon unvetted claims and allegations, a majority of our Court, one of whom is deeply involved in this controversy, has suspended a fellow justice," Todd wrote. "No independent investigative body has made any findings regarding merits or credibility and . . . no formal criminal proceedings have been instituted."
It was revealed last week that another justice, J. Michael Eakin, had received three pornographic and racially tinged e-mails on an anonymous private account.
He blamed McCaffery for leaking the e-mails, and essentially accused McCaffery of blackmailing him because he would not try and change Castille’s opinion.
McCaffery has been on the PA Supreme Court since 2008. He is a former Ancient Order of Hibernians Humanitarian Award winner.
He first came to public notice when he established the "Eagles Court," when he tried cases in Veterans Stadium during NFL team Philadelphia Eagles' home games when violence often broke out between fans.