A Sedgwick County judge facing a disciplinary hearing next week has resigned.
Judge Timothy Henderson, who lost his re-election bid in August, was suspended for 90 days in 2015. The Kansas Supreme Court found he had committed wide-ranging misconduct including subjecting “multiple female attorneys and staff members to repeated inappropriate and offensive comments for literally years.”
He now faces allegations that he lied to cover up that misconduct.
Henderson is scheduled to appear before the court for a new disciplinary hearing on Monday after the Commission on Judicial Qualification concluded that he “was not candid or honest” and attempted to “cover the inappropriate conduct of which he was accused and was found to have committed” during the previous disciplinary case.
Henderson submitted his resignation to Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday.
His attorney, Thomas Haney, filed documents Wednesday saying a disciplinary hearing set for Monday is now “moot and should be terminated.”
The court denied that request and said Friday that the hearing would proceed as scheduled.
Neither Henderson nor his attorney returned phone calls Friday. Henderson told The Eagle in July that he has “always tried to make being a judge about service.” After his election defeat in August, Henderson said, “I pray that I have left a legacy of helping children and families through the most difficult times in their lives.”
The Commission on Judicial Qualifications has recommended that Henderson be suspended for 30 days and face public censure. The court will weigh whether to accept that recommendation Monday.
The commission found that Henderson had not given truthful testimony during the first disciplinary case when he was accused of making obscene jokes at the workplace.
The commission also found that Henderson had lied about pressuring a former Wichita school board member, who worked as a liaison for the county’s judicial justice system, to help get his wife a teaching position with the district.
Several of the women who accused Henderson of sexual harassment worked for the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.
“I’m going to let the process take care of itself and trust the Supreme Court to do whatever it is they deem fit out of respect for my employees and what they brought to my attention,” said District Attorney Marc Bennett on Friday.
Henderson’s attorney accused the DA’s office of engaging in a “concerted effort to remove Judge Henderson from the bench” during a 2015 hearing.
Henderson’s letter gives Sept. 11 as his official resignation date. He had been set to serve through the end of the year; he lost to assistant county counselor and former prosecutor Tyler Roush in the Republican primary in August.