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Former Court Referee Accused Of Leading Double Life

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A man trusted to sit on the bench, presiding over juvenile cases as a court referee has been accused of leading a double life.

Daniel Horton
Daniel Horton

The news of Daniel Madden Horton's arrest Wednesday was shocking the next day for those who went through his courtroom.

Investigators say Horton posed as a modeling agent photographer, approaching teen girls and offering them money for nude photos or sex acts.

In late 2010, police say Horton went to a tanning salon just around the corner from his job at family court, told the 17-year-old employee she could make money for nude modeling, convinced her to change into a bathing suit and asked her to touch herself before he began touching himself.

"He doesn't in my opinion deserve to be on the bench," said a man named Anthony who went in front of Horton on a custody case. "I don't know why he would do that especially since he's a referee, a judicial referee."

But while Horton was supposed to be a teen dependency court referee, police say they caught him asking two teens to pose nude for a magazine, join a masturbation club and make sex videos.

Those teens were police decoys.

Police say he often drove his Mercedes sedan on a stretch of Folsom Boulevard looking for girls and also on Madison Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard.

Although police say Horton isn't accused of any wrongdoing in the courtroom, Anthony hopes the court reviews all the cases he presided over.
"Being appointed to sit on the bench to uphold the law but yet you're behind the scenes breaking the law," he said.

Sacramento County Superior Court Presiding Judge Laura Earl issued a statement Thursday saying she immediately put Horton on leave last week after the allegations were presented to her and that he resigned from the court on Sunday.

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