US District Judge Samuel B. Kent of the Southern District of Texas, who faces trial on in Houston on three federal criminal charges, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three additional charges in a superseding indictment.
The indictment brings one count of aggravated sexual abuse, one count of abusive sexual contact and one count of obstruction of justice against Kent.
Kent, a longtime Galveston federal judge who has been hearing civil cases in Houston for the past year, is free on a personal recognizance bond.
Federal prosecutors were granted a 55-minute closed-court session on Wednesday. The prosecutors, and Kent’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, cannot speak to the press under a gag order by presiding Judge Roger Vinson. DeGuerin has complained publicly and in court about the gag order.
In September 2008, Kent pleaded not guilty to the original three charges, which are two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse. Those charges stem from a complaint filed by Kent’s former case manager in Galveston, Cathy McBroom, but the alleged victim in the superseding indictment is only identified as “Person B.”
Here’s where the story gets a bit NSFW:
The government alleges that on one or more occasions, Kent, while at the US Post Office and Courthouse in Galveston, “did engage and attempt to engage in contact between his mouth and Person B’s vulva by force and did penetrate and attempt to penetrate the genital opening of Person B by a hand and finger by force with an intent to abuse, humiliate, degrade and arouse and gratify the sexual desire of any person.”
As to the new abusive sexual conduct charge, the indictment alleges that during the same time frame, Kent “did engage in the intentional touching, directly and through the clothing, of the genitalia, groin, breast, inner thigh, and buttocks of Person B with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, and arouse and gratify the sexual desire of any person.”
The maximum punishment on the new abusive sexual contact charge is two years in prison. The maximum punishment on the new aggravated sexual abuse charge is life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, and the maximum punishment on the new obstruction of justice charge is 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Kent denies the charges.