Judge indicted on additional sex charges in Texas

Published: 1/7/2009 12:00 AM

HOUSTON -- A federal judge who was indicted last year for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward his court case manager was accused Tuesday of fondling another former court employee.

A federal grand jury in Houston added three new charges to the indictment it issued in August against U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent. The new charges -- aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and obstruction of justice -- allege Kent engaged in unwanted sexual contact with a second former court employee and later lied about it to investigators.

"There is a gag order in the case which prohibits the parties from making any sort of comment with the exception of stating without elaboration what the defense is to these new charges," said Dick DeGuerin, Kent's attorney. "They are untrue and we believe the product of intense pressure and threats brought against the complainant."

In a news release, the Justice Department gave only a brief description of the additional charges against Kent.

Kent was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in connection with the new charges. After last year's indictment, he was released on his own recognizance and is still on the federal bench.

Jury selection in Kent's trial on the initial charges against him was set to begin Jan. 26. It was not immediately known if the new charges would delay the trial.

If convicted, Kent faces up to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Kent initially faced two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse following a U.S. Justice Department investigation into complaints by case manager Cathy McBroom.

McBroom accused the judge of physical sexual harassment over a four-year period starting in 2003 when he was the only U.S. District Court judge in Galveston, an island beach town 50 miles southeast of Houston.

The new charges accuse Kent on one or more occasions between January 2004 and January 2005 of attempting to force an unnamed former court employee to engage in a sexual act at the U.S. Post Office and federal courthouse in Galveston.

McBroom has said the alleged harassment culminated in March 2007, when the judge pulled up her blouse and bra and tried to force her to perform oral sex.

The Associated Press does not normally name alleged victims of sexual abuse, but McBroom's attorney and her family have used her name in publicly discussing the case.