This is not only a major embarrassment to the judge, but to the federal judiciary.
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
HOUSTON – A disgraced federal judge was sentenced yesterday to nearly three years in prison for lying to investigators about sexually abusing two female employees, who said that they feared him so much they hid from him in the courthouse.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent stared at the floor while the women described years of harassment and abuse at the Galveston courthouse, where he wielded great authority as the only federal judge.
He could have received up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors said that they wouldn’t seek more than three years under a plea agreement. He also was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $6,550 in restitution to the secretary and case manager whose complaints resulted in the first sex-abuse case ever against a sitting federal judge.
The women whom Kent abused told federal Judge Roger Vinson a that they came to work scared that Kent might find them, and even neglected to answer courthouse phones to avoid him.
Cathy McBroom, Kent’s former case manager, said that he had “bragged” about his ability to intimidate people. “He told me everyone was afraid of him.” McBroom’s complaint began the case, which expanded when allegations from the judge’s secretary Donna Wilkerson were added.