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Judge Found Not Guilty of Paddling Inmates

Herman Thomas, the former Alabama judge accused of spanking and sexually abusing 11 young men in exchange for leniency, was acquitted of all charges Monday.

Jurors deadlocked on most of the charges against Thomas, a Mobile County circuit judge who stepped down in 2007, according to the Press-Register of Mobile.

"The 5-man, 7-woman jury found Thomas not guilty on five counts of sex abuse and one count each of sodomy and assault," reported the Press-Register. "But the panel could not reach unanimous decisions on 14 more charges. After reading the jury's verdicts, Special Judge Claud Neilson ruled Thomas not guilty on the remaining charges -- including sex abuse, attempted sodomy and assault -- citing a lack of evidence."

Several young men testified during the trial that Thomas released them from jail and brought them to a courthouse office, where he told them to pull down their pants for a whipping or else go back to jail. They alleged that the judge used his belt or a paddle.

Federal authorities had no comment about whether they would renew an investigation into civil rights violations opened against Thomas in 2007.

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