Friday, January 11, 2019
Alexandra Mester of The Toledo Blade reported last November
A former Monroe County district judge fidgeted with his fingers and twisted his wedding ring as officials read graphic victim-impact statements from several young women describing how he brutally whipped, beat, and electrocuted them for sexual gratification.
Jarod Calkins, 41, of Carleton, Mich., was sentenced Thursday in Monroe County Circuit Court to prison, with no alternative programs allowed, after pleading guilty in September to four felony counts of misconduct in office. Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Archie Brown heard the case after Monroe County judges recused themselves.
“If there ever comes a time when it’s easy to put somebody in a cage, then you’re in the wrong line of business,” Judge Brown told Calkins. “I’m doing that today, and you know that, Mr. Calkins.”
He sentenced Calkins to one to five years for each count, to be served concurrently. He must also complete a sex-offender treatment program and pay court fees and costs. He will not have to register as a sex offender upon his release.
Andrea Bitely, spokesman for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office that tried the case, said Calkins is believed to be the first Michigan judge to go to prison. Following sentencing, the state bar will review his law license.
“When you’re a person in a position of power and you choose to use that power to the detriment of others, there are consequences,” she said. “Mr. Calkins is now aware of those consequences.”
According to a criminal complaint, Calkins used the alias Michael Collins on the dating app Tinder, dating website OkCupid, on Facebook, and other places online to meet women. He told them he wanted to be their “sugar daddy” and said he would provide gifts and money in exchange for sex.
Calkins resigned as a judge in April after he was initially charged with one felony count of transporting a person for the purposes of prostitution as well as four misdemeanor counts of hiring women for the purpose of prostitution following an investigation by the Michigan State Police. The investigation began in 2017 after state police were told of “prostitution-related activities” at a Monroe Township hotel, according to a news release.
In 2016, Calkins gave four women ages 19 to 22 $50 to $200 cash each encounter for several meetings over the course of a few months. He perpetrated violent acts of BDSM — bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism — that sometimes ignored the victims’ boundaries and protests, according to the complaint.
Defense attorney William Godfroy argued the encounters were consensual and the victims knew of Calkins’ intent to engage in BDSM. Michael Frezza, assistant attorney general, said the women consented only to what they believed would be playful sexual experimentation and withdrew consent when things escalated.
Three of the victims provided detailed written statements while the fourth told officials she could not bear to relive what happened. The women said they were seeking a caring relationship, but Calkins was not interested beyond sex.
The three described similar encounters in which they said Calkins used varying restraints to bind them in often painful positions so they were unable to move or resist, severely whipped and beat them with multiple objects, choked them, aggressively used sex toys on them, and electrocuted them.
“The only way I can describe this experience is torture,” one victim wrote, adding she has nerve damage after being electrocuted through her genitals. “He was dehumanizing me, treating me like a punching bag, like his property that he could do whatever he wanted to. I was just a sexual object to him that he possessed that couldn’t say no. I felt like his personal sex slave.”
Victims said Calkins wanted to hurt them, enjoyed making them cry, and liked to see the marks he left on their bodies and how their bruises changed over time. They said they were afraid of being hurt even more if they didn’t comply, sometimes afraid for their lives.
The women said they tried to refuse Calkins’ money, but he placed it in their purses or they accepted it out of fear.
Calkins apologized to the women, his family and friends, and the community that elected him, saying he was “in a very dark place” and “attempting to fill an emotional void” at the time. He said he has been in therapy for 2 1/2 years.
“I stand here before you today in a much different place than 30 months ago,” he told Judge Brown. “I am not the same man.”
Judge Brown said public officials are held to a higher standard.
“You took the same oath I did, both as a lawyer and as a judge, and that was the duty to serve the public and not misuse it,” Judge Brown said.
First Published November 29, 2018, 9:48am
The felony complaint may be found here.