Perversion of Justice

As the most powerful jurist in Galveston, Judge Samuel Kent intimidated everyone: the lawyers who argued cases before him, the defendants and plaintiffs who appeared in his courtroom—and the female courthouse employees he groped, kissed, and forced himself on when no one was looking. Imperious, charismatic, and seemingly above the law, he almost got away with it. Until one woman decided to fight back.
Perversion Of Justice
Illustration by Steven Tabbutt

When Cathy McBroom stepped into the judge’s chambers in the summer of 2002, she thought her heart was going to stop. She had been told the judge was a big man, but she’d had no idea just how big until he started rising from behind his desk. He was six feet four and at least 260 pounds—“literally larger than life,” she’d later tell her best friend, shaking her head in wonder. Dressed casually in khakis, a button-down white shirt, and a sports coat, he took off his glasses, gave her a broad grin, and in a booming baritone said, “Cathy, I’m Judge Kent. Welcome to Galveston. Have a seat.”

Cathy, a 44-year-old mother

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