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Details of the Sexual Harrassment Accusations Against Judge Samuel B. Kent:

The Houston Chronicle has a new story revealing some of the details of the sexual harassment accusations against District Judge Samuel B. Kent (hat tip: several VC readers who pointed out the story to me).

At this point, it is difficult to tell whether the accuser's account is accurate or not. Undoubtedly, Kent has his own version of what happened. Nonetheless, her accusations are quite serious, and strengthen the case for a congressional investigation to determine whether impeachment is warranted.

TerrencePhilip:
But her female supervisor advised that McBroom could lose her job if she made a formal complaint, and no further action apparently was taken.

this was 2003? SHEESH! It sounds like something from 4 decades ago.

Now that this information is out there, there simply MUST be further inquiry- the US Attorney and Congress have an obligation they can no longer ignore. This is an allegation of a physical attack.

And while they're considering the fate of Judge Kent, somebody needs to pay attention to the procedures for investigating and reporting misconduct by judges: if this story reflects the allegations known to the 5th Circuit, AND they found them credible, and took no more action than they did, there is something very seriously wrong.
11.12.2007 9:35pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
What's a little puzzling is that this was reported from the beginning as sexual harassment, but if current reports are true, it's actually more like sexual assault.
11.12.2007 10:06pm
Ilya Somin:
What's a little puzzling is that this was reported from the beginning as sexual harassment, but if current reports are true, it's actually more like sexual assault.

It certainly would amount to assault if the accuser's account is accurate. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. A single action can be both criminal assault and civil harrassment under Title VII.
11.12.2007 10:08pm
PersonFromPorlock:
But isn't there a federal precedent that soliciting blow jobs from the office staff "doesn't rise to the level of impeachment?"
11.12.2007 10:10pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Given that the accusations are of felonious conduct, is impeachment the appropriate first step rather than criminal prosecution? If he is convicted of a felony, impeachment and removal from office will almost certainly follow. An impeachment investigation could prejudice subsequent prosecution.
11.12.2007 10:36pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It certainly would amount to assault if the accuser's account is accurate. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. A single action can be both criminal assault and civil harrassment under Title VII.
I don't disagree that it fits the definition of sexual harassment as well, but one could describe murder as the illegal discharge of a firearm, too; "sexual harassment" seems like an oddly trivial way of describing a physical assault.
11.12.2007 10:40pm
Guest101:

But isn't there a federal precedent that soliciting blow jobs from the office staff "doesn't rise to the level of impeachment?"

In recognition of the fact that a new bogeyman has arisen in certain circles since Godwin's Law was first coined in 1990, and in the desire to make a lasting contribution to the online marketplace of ideas, I humbly submit Guest101's Law of Right-Wing Debate:

As an online discussion of Republican misconduct grows longer, the probability of a "Clinton did it!" tu quoque justification approaches one.
11.12.2007 10:48pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
It is still her word against his word, and neither one of them is talking.
11.12.2007 11:28pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The allegations are disturbing and warrant further investigation. I would say McBroom described sexual assault, not simply sexual harassment.
11.12.2007 11:35pm
Public_Defender (mail):

It is still her word against his word, and neither one of them is talking.


Neither of them are talking publicly to the media. McBroom is clearly talking to investigators. That's smart.

As to the Clinton analogy, I see the point. But the analogy is weak for several reasons:


* Judges serve for life, presidents get four years. Time will take care of misbehaving presidents, but not judges.

* Judges should be held to a higher standard of personal probity than presidents. We expect presidents to be more shrewd and even dishonest at times.

* The Republicans chose to focus their impeachment efforts on a clearly consensual (although icky) sexual liaison that Clinton had. There were allegations of more serious misconduct, but the Republicans did not pursue them as reasons for impeachment. An innocent man is not wrongly acquitted just because he was guilty of something he wasn't charged with.

* Most importantly, no one has been crying wolf about Kent for years. Clinton was blessed by insane enemies who made so many wacky allegations that it was hard to take them seriously.
11.13.2007 7:05am
PersonFromPorlock:

Guest101's Law of Right-Wing Debate:

As an online discussion of Republican misconduct grows longer, the probability of a "Clinton did it!" tu quoque justification approaches one.


Which I counter with Porlock's Law:

"In any argument about politics, the chance that some git will confuse 'serious' with 'humorless' approaches unity."
11.13.2007 7:28am
JosephSlater (mail):
PersonFromPorlock:

Which I counter with, um, well, I won't call it a law, but if you really were being "serious" you might want to consider the difference between entirely consensual sex (Clinton and Lewinsky) and what's being alleged here.
11.13.2007 9:54am
Happyshooter:
That does sound like assault. I wonder if it is true?
11.13.2007 4:56pm
happylee:
Yikes! Having worked with a lecherous, predatory boss in the past, I can confirm it creates a horrible work environment and degrades all who must endure it. If this stuff is true, Kent has brought great shame to the court and must suck it up and resign. If the stuff is not true, Miss Courtclerk should be run out of town.

As for the long liquid lunches, I think most judges could use a couple here and there.
11.13.2007 5:09pm
Toby:
There are plenty of bosses who spend their days creating a horrible work environment and degrades all who must endure it. I have strong personal knowledge, to my sorrow, of one. That, of itself, I have not found actionable, alas.
11.14.2007 10:30pm