[JURIST] A disciplinary panel of judges ruled Wednesday that former US District Court judge Samuel Kent [official profile] engaged in conduct that constitutes grounds for impeachment [certification letter, PDF], and urged prompt action on the matter. Kent, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice [JURIST report] for lying about allegations of sexual harassment of two female assistants, had sought to retire on disability and retain his yearly salary [AP report]. The council denied that request. Under the plea agreement, Kent will serve 33 months in prison [JURIST report] and pay both a fine and restitution.
Kent's plea prevented him from becoming the first federal judge to go on trial for sexual harassment. He was indicted last August, and was initially charged with the sexual harassment of his former case manager. Charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of his secretary were added [ABA Journal report] in January. In 2007, the American Bar Association (ABA) [professional association] adopted new policies reforming the Model Code of Judicial Conduct [JURIST report], which for the first time included prohibitions against sexual harassment.