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Friday, September 9, 2011

Foley, Alabama magistrate charged with sexual abuse

FOLEY – A longtime Foley municipal court magistrate, community leader and businessman has been charged with second-degree sexual abuse.

Joseph Edward "Joe" Bischoff
Joe Bischoff, 64, was booked into the Baldwin County Corrections Center on Sept. 6 on the misdemeanor charge. He was released after posting a $6,000 bond.

Foley City Administrator Michael Thompson said Bischoff had been the city’s part-time municipal court warrant magistrate since May 1982. His responsibilities in that regard entailed warrants that were issued on weekends or after hours when the municipal court office was closed, Thompson said. Bischoff resigned his position with the court the day after his arrest, according to Thompson.

That same day Bischoff also resigned his position on the Foley Planning Commission on which he had served for years.

A Foley Police Department spokesman said FPD was contacted about the alleged sexual abuse but turned the matter over to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office due to Bischoff’s connection to municipal court and a potential fear of conflict.

“We never had any issue with him (Bischoff) as a part-time magistrate,” Thompson said.

Maj. Anthony Lowery of BCSO said the complaint against Bischoff came approximately three weeks ago. The disclosure came from a “young girl” 12 to 16 years of age that he also described as a “family friend. There are potentially other victims out there,” Lowery said, adding that in all likelihood there will be additional charges against Bischoff.

According to Lowery, BCSO investigators have gathered evidence in the case and are forensically testing phones gathered from Bischoff. The district attorney wants the case against Bischoff presented to a grand jury, Lowery said. Originally Published by Baldwin County Now



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