A federal appeals court judge accused of sexual misconduct by at least 15 women will retire from the federal bench, according to a report.

Alex Kozinski, a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, said in a statement to the Washington Post he is retiring effective immediately.

“I’ve always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike. In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace,” Kozinski said in a statement. “It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; that was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize.”

The federal judge said his family and friends have encouraged him to remain on the appeals court “at least long enough to defend myself.” But Kozinski said doing so would be harmful the federal judiciary.

“I cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle,” he said. “Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary.”

The Post on Friday published the accounts of nine women who accused the judge of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1980s, including inappropriate touching and making sexual comments.

Prior to the Post’s report, six women said Kozinski made inappropriate comments toward them or behaved inappropriately. Two of the women, who were former clerks, said the judge had them watch pornography in his chambers.

In the wake of the allegations made against Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opened an investigation into his alleged misconduct.