The Judge and the Urinator

The wicked are wicked no doubt, and they go astray and they fall. . .but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do? -- William Makepeace Thackeray, The Newcomes

The wicked are wicked no doubt, and they go astray and they fall. . .but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do? -- William Makepeace Thackeray, The Newcomes

federal employees have been in the news recently. One is a federal
Judge-the other is an IRS employee. The conduct of both was inspired by
the same anatomical device. The judge was convicted of obstructing a
judicial panel's investigation of charges he sexually assaulted two
female employees. The IRS employee used the freight elevator as a
urinal and has not yet been sentenced. Both did what they did because
they thought they could get away with it. The urinator may be
terminated. The harasser will resign at leisure.

Samuel B. Kent of the Federal District Court in Galveston, Texas,
pleaded guilty in February to an obstruction of justice charge. The
plea was entered on the same day he was to be tried for 3 counts of
abusive sexual contact and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. His
victims were court employees in the courthouse in which he ruled.
According to reports
the judge was attempting to bestow his judicial sexual favors on female
courthouse employees who found his attention offensive instead of
flattering. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

Kent is probably surprised to be going to prison. When the allegations
against him first surfaced in 2007, the 5th Circuit Judicial Council
treated the charges as sexual harassment and conducted an in-house
investigation. At its conclusion the judge was privately but severely
punished. He was not allowed to work for four months. He was permitted
to retain his salary and all benefits. The Judicial Council didn't tell
anyone why he'd been suspended. They were helping to protect his
reputation so he could go back to work with it unsullied. The Council
was probably surprised to find that what it thought suitable for
private discipline was considered an indictable offense by a grand jury
sitting in the Southern District of Texas. The ordinary citizens had
better sense than the judicial council.

Following entry of
his plea of guilty, Judge Roger Vinson, who presided over Judge Kent's
trial, not only sentenced him to 33 months in prison but also ordered
him to pay a fine of $1000. The fine seems low but Judge Vinson
observed that as a result of the conviction Judge Kent would soon not
be drawing a salary. Judge Vinson may be a good judge of the law but at
least in this case, he showed himself to be a poor judge of character.
Disgraced, but not humiliated, Judge Kent has let it be known he has no
intention of soon relinquishing his salary or other benefits. The only
way he loses his benefits is if Congress impeaches him. That would
probably take about a year.
With that in mind Judge Kent let it be known that he would resign as a
federal judge approximately a year after he entered prison.

was observed at the outset, Judge Kent was not the only federal
employee to make news in May. The other was Michael Hicks. Michael is a
contract employee with the Internal Revenue Service in Detroit. Michael
did not sexually harass any of his co-workers in the IRS office. He
pee'd. That, in itself, did not distinguish him from any of the other
employees in that office. It was his venue-selection that brought him
to the attention of co-workers and resulted in criminal charges being
filed against him last month.

For many months employees at
the Internal Revenue Service data center noticed that the freight
elevator emanated a peculiar smell that grew more pungent with the
passage of time. Unable to determine the cause of the odor the Service
installed a surveillance camera in the elevator and discovered that the
cause of the odor was Michael Hicks. Confronted with the evidence Mr.
Hicks confessed. It turned out that rather than retiring to the public
toilets when the occasion presented itself, he retired to the freight elevators to the same end.

of Judge Kent's accusers said that during one of his attacks on her he
said he didn't care if the U.S. Marshal's office overheard the
encounter because
"everyone was afraid of him." He told her if he had 15 minutes with a
jury he'd be exonerated. He didn't get his 15 minutes. He does get his
salary and other benefits. It is not yet known what Mr. Hicks will get.
When asked why he engaged in what most would unhesitatingly describe as
bizarre behavior, he told Delmaria Scott, who confronted him, that he
did it because "he felt he could get away with it." In that respect he
was like the federal judge. Here's hoping he gets to keep his job and
his salary at least as long as Judge Kent. Maybe even longer.

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