Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle

Beacon. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780807008676. $26.95. CRIME
Investigative reporter Olsen tells the story of Cathy McBroom, a victim of sexual misconduct and assault at the hands of her employer, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent. McBroom’s legal battle ended in a rare triumph—by some estimates, most sexual assaults go unreported or unaddressed. Thanks to McBroom’s testimony and the tenacious sleuthing of Olsen, who reported on the case for years at the Houston Chronicle, Kent became the first and thus far only federal judge to be impeached for sexual misconduct. Including narratives of other victims of assault and excerpts from Olsen’s reporting, this book exposes the secretive court system that protects federal judges against claims of corruption and sexual abuse. An expert journalist, Olsen weaves a nonlinear timeline, sharing minute details and making a complex, often unwieldy topic accessible even to readers with little background on the subject. And though the research and reporting are meticulous, the book is also deeply personal, and the stories of Kent’s victim are rendered with empathy.
VERDICT This captivating, eloquent book will resonate with anyone seeking justice and accountability; give to readers of Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers.
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