Federal trial judge Samuel Kent is facing possible criminal charges and impeachment after accusations of sexual harassment and assault. The judiciary itself is under criticism for its handling of the allegations stemming from the United District Court in Galveston and court employee Cathy McBroom.
Kent was suspended from the bench and reprimanded by the 5th Judicial Circuit after McBroom, his case manager, in May filed a formal complaint against him.She complained that on a Friday afternoon in March, Kent called her into his office, pushed up her shirt and bra, put his mouth on her breast and tried to force her head into his crotch, her mother and her attorney have said.McBroom wrote a letter to Gore making the allegations against Kent and asking to be transferred to Houston, her mother said. She later made a formal complaint against the judge.
“The only person she wasn’t getting support from was her office manager,” Schopp said.Kent and his attorney, Maria Boyce, have ignored dozens of requests for comment on this story.The 5th Circuit began an investigation into McBroom’s claims. But only after The Daily News made public the existence of McBroom’s complaint did the 5th Circuit’s judicial council issue an order punishing Kent.
Also under scrutiny is McBroom’s office supervisor, Mary Ann Gore, who is accused of advising McBroom that she could lose her job if she formal complaint.
The court has long been accused of protecting judges in ethic complaints. In one case where I was counsel, a federal judge in D.C. was allowed to escape any discipline despite the fact that he lobbied Congress on behalf of his spouse, used his official stationary to support her legal claims, and allowed the letter to be used in a political campaign. Obviously, this is far more serious. Congress would normally allow the trial to go forward before an impeachment. The case, however, could bring back memories of the Alcee Hastings case where, after his acquittal, an irate Congress impeached him. He then turned around, ran for Congress, and won.
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