HOUSTON -- U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent found himself on the other side of the bench Sept. 3 as he pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a female employee before another federal judge in Houston.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Kent was indicted by a grand jury last week on charges of abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a female employee, making him the first federal judge to be charged with federal sex crimes.
He faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"I plead absolutely, unequivocally not guilty and look very much forward to a trial on the merits of what I consider flagrant, scurrilous charges," Kent told U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Edward Prado.
"For the record I absolutely intend to testify, and we are going to bring a horde of witnesses," Kent was quoted by the Chronicle as saying.
The federal criminal investigation began in November after Kent's former case manager, Cathy McBroom, complained that the judge physically touched her under her clothing twice and often made obscene suggestions during the six years she worked for him. He is charged with abusing McBroom in 2003 and 2007.