East Texas County Judge Caught In Sexting Scandal
*UPDATE* Smith County Judge Joel Baker has responded to the allegations previously reported.
According to KLTV, Baker's written response was sent directly to the news station and included a full rebuttal of the allegations that he sent sexually explicit messages and images to a woman whose identity has not yet been made public. Baker claims that these allegations are part of an on-going effort to make his life difficult. Additionally, Baker said he was anonymously warned there might be people attempting to "dig up dirt" on him, and that he maintained contact with this woman online in an effort to discover the identity of who he had been warned about.
For more information, follow KLTV's updated story. Our original post is found below.
Smith County Judge Joel Baker has been accused of sending inappropriate and sexually explicit messages and images through his social media account while conducting government business. In an investigative report aired by KLTV Channel 7, the woman to whom messages were sent contacted a private digital evidence specialist to determine if the messages were authentic and from the judge's account or if they were fakes sent from his account.
Tim McLemee, a digital evidence specialist, told KLTV he "turned over a thousand explicit social media messages, along with some images, between the woman and Baker's personal social media page" to authorities. The online conversations between Baker and the woman apparently started out innocently last fall but became increasingly more explicit when she became single in October.
On the advice of a friend, she sought out the assistance of Mr. McLemee who came up with a plan to keep the conversation going and to see if the messages were really being sent from Baker. After comparing some time stamps on the messages and images, they matched up with Baker's schedule and appointments not only while in Smith County but while on official business in Austin.
KLTV 7 reached out to Judge Baker on numerous occasions for a comment on the accusations, but he did not respond until Monday afternoon via text to the TV station,
denying that he initiated contact with the woman and denies that he desired to have a relationship with her. Baker claims he was attempting to meet the woman to confront her and find out who was trying to "destroy his family." He also denies sending any explicit videos or photos."
KLTV 7 learned that Baker also resigned from the State Commission for Judicial Conduct (a voluntary position) on March 4th. This commission has not yet commented on the resignation letter.