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Alcohol-Dependent Judge Sentenced to Nearly Three Years in Sex Case

Posted in Alcoholism

Alcoholism affects people from all walks of life—from those living in poverty to successful doctors and lawyers: It does not discriminate. This fact was further solidified when US District Judge Samuel Kent was sentenced to nearly three years in prison in a sex-abuse case and ordered to participate in an alcohol-abuse program while incarcerated.

Kent, 59, was sentenced for lying to investigators about groping two female employees on repeated occasions. The abused women testified in court that they hid from Kent, sometimes even avoiding answering courthouse phones, to escape the humiliating sexual abuse he put them through. One of the victims described Kent as a “drunken giant.”

Donna Wilkinson, Kent’s secretary, told of seven years of abuse, and said that Kent tried to molest her on the fifth day on the job. When Kent’s lawyer alleged she was a willing partner in a romantic affair with Kent, Wilkinson said, “Being molested and groped by a drunken giant is not my idea of an affair.”

“I will forever be scarred with what happened to me,” said Cathy McBroom, who was Kent’s case manager and said she was abused by Kent over a four-year period, which culminated in 2007 when Kent disrobed her against her will. “He told me everyone was afraid of him,” she said, adding that he bragged about his ability to intimidate people. McBroom said that her complaint against the judge and the initiation of the case was incredibly stressful and led to the breakup of her marriage and the loss of her home and her dream job.

Kent pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted that the sexual contact was against the women’s will. His lawyer described him as an alcoholic and said he had recently been hospitalized for stress-related illness. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison, fined $1,000, and ordered to pay $6,500 in restitution to the two victims.

Kent described himself in court as being “completely broken” as he apologized to his wife, family, and the federal court. He said he had the “benefit of 26 months of absolute sobriety,” and that he has “come to see the world as the flawed, selfish, indulgent person I have been.”

Hopefully Kent will continue to recover from his alcohol dependency through treatment while he is incarcerated, but the lives of the women he abused and the family he broke up will never be the same.