After many years on the bench, and many sentences delivered, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent had to sit on the other side of the courtroom today and listen to a judge hand down a 33 month sentence against him for obstruction of justice during an investigation into alleged sexual abuse.
Two former workers at the Galveston courthouse where Kent sat as a district judge claimed that Kent had engaged in non-consensual sexual contact with them. A federal grand jury indicted Kent on sexual abuse and obstruction of justice charges last August. Kent eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in February
and retired from his seat on the bench. His sentence could have added
up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors were bound by the terms of
the plea agreement not to pursue a sentence longer than three years.
The judge also fined Kent $1,000 and ordered him to pay $6,550 to the
victims of his abuse. While in prison, Kent must attend an alcohol
The top members of the House Judiciary Committee from each party joined
together in calling for Kent's resignation from the bench after the
verdict was announced. Kent retired claiming a disability rather than
resigning after his guilty plea which entitles him to receive his
$169,300 yearly salary for life.
Judges who retire receive the yearly salaries, but judges who resign do not.
The Representatives stated that, if Kent does not resign, they will
begin an inquiry into whether there are grounds for impeachment.