New York Lawyer - August 29, 2008
By The Associated Press
A Texas federal judge accused of sexual harassment by his former case manager was indicted Thursday on charges of abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. A federal grand jury indicted U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent on two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse. "He's angry and ready for a fight. He is innocent. We will try this case. It is nothing but a false accusation," said Dick DeGuerin, Kent's attorney. The indictment alleges the criminal conduct happened March 23, 2007, and Aug. 29, 2003, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich announced in a news release. The Houston Chronicle first reported the indictment on its Web site Thursday. An agreement with prosecutors will allow Kent to surrender Wednesday for an initial court appearance. A federal criminal investigation began in November 2007 after the former case manager, Cathy McBroom, complained about Kent. She said the judge physically touched her under her clothing twice and and often made obscene suggestions during the six years she worked for him.
DeGuerin has called any alleged sexual contact between Kent and McBroom "enthusiastically consensual." "After a very difficult 17 months, I feel like I have finally been validated. I have listened and read with horror as Judge Kent's lawyer suggested that what happened to me was 'enthusiastically consensual,'" McBroom said in a statement sent to the Chronicle. "I am relieved to find that even federal judges are not above the law, and that sexual abuse in the workplace is never acceptable, no matter the status of the offender." Kent received a reprimand for sexual harassment and "inappropriate behavior" from the judicial council of the 5th Circuit over a judicial misconduct complaint filed by McBroom. He was reassigned from Galveston to Houston.