Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

U.S. District Court Judge Charged in Superseding Indictment with Aggravated Sexual Abuse and Abusive Sexual Contact

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury in Houston returned a superseding indictment today charging U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent, 59, with aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and obstruction of justice, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced. Kent was previously indicted on Aug. 28, 2008, on one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of abusive sexual contact of a clerk’s office employee.

The superseding indictment charges three counts based on alleged offenses involving an additional victim who is also a court employee. The first two additional counts charge Kent with aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact. The third count of the superseding indictment charges obstruction of justice related to an inquiry by a special investigative committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit into a complaint of judicial misconduct filed against Kent by the clerk's office employee.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Chief for Litigation Peter J. Ainsworth and Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and AnnaLou T. Tirol of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, which is headed by Section Chief William M. Welch II. This case is being investigated by the FBI.

An indictment is merely an allegation. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.