Texas judge pleads not guilty to sex crime charges

HOUSTON (AP) -- A federal judge in Houston has pleaded not guilty to charges he fondled a former case manager and tried to force her into a sexual act.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent entered his plea Wednesday. It was his first court appearance after being indicted last week on federal sex crimes following a Department of Justice investigation.

He is facing two counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse. Kent's former case manager, Cathy McBroom, accused the judge of physically harassing her in a sexual manner over a four-year period, starting in 2003.

Kent plans to stay on the bench while he awaits trial.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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