Book Talk: Code of Silence with author Lise Olsen & Whistleblower Cathy McBroom and Austin-based journalist and author Megan Kimble

Please join us as we welcome Houston based investigative reporter Lise Olsen, author of CODE OF SILENCE. Lise will be joined by Cathy McBroom, the former federal court employee whose story is featured in Olsen's book. Megan Kimble of The Texas Observer will join the discussion as moderator. Code of Silence is published by Beacon Press.

Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle is "A long overdue exposé on how the judicial system suppresses claims of sexual harassment against judges. In this new era of reckoning with sexual assault and harassment, Code of Silence is essential reading for anyone looking to understand how institutions subvert efforts to end gender-based violence." --Anita Hill

Code of Silence tells the story of federal court employee Cathy McBroom, who had to flee her job as a case manager in Galveston, Texas, after enduring years of sexual harassment and assault by her boss—US District Judge Samuel Kent. Following a decade of firsthand reporting at the Houston Chronicle, Olsen charts McBroom’s assault and the aftermath, when McBroom was thrust into the role of whistleblower to denounce a federal judge.

What Olsen discovered by investigating McBroom’s story and other federal judicial misconduct matters nationwide was shocking. With the help of other federal judges, Kent was being protected by a secretive court system that has long tolerated or ignored complaints about corruption, sexism, and sexual misconduct—enabling him to remain in office for years. Other powerful judges accused of judicial misconduct were never investigated and remain in power or retired with full pay, such as US Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and Kozinski’s mentee, Brett Kavanaugh.

McBroom’s ultimate triumph is a rare story of redemption and victory as Judge Kent became the first and only federal judge to be impeached for sexual misconduct. Olsen also weaves in narratives of other brave women across the country who, at great personal risk, have reported federal judges to reveal how sexual harassment and assault occur elsewhere inside the federal court system.  

Lise Olsen is a senior investigative reporter whose work has appeared in the Texas Observer, InsideClimate News, and the Houston Chronicle, as well as in documentaries on CNN and A&E. Olsen has more than 20 years' experience specializing primarily in crime, corruption, worker safety, and human rights. She has extensively covered federal judicial corruption sagas, including the initially secret sexual assault complaint and subsequent impeachment of a federal judge, as well as other misconduct cases. Her reports have inspired laws and reforms, spurred official investigations and prosecutions, restored names to unidentified murder victims, and freed dozens of wrongfully held prisoners. Follow her on Twitter (@lisedigger).


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When: Nov 4, 2021 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Event date: 
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Event address: 
5501 North Lamar #A-105
Austin, TX 78751
Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System That Protects Them, and the Women Who Blew the Whistle By Lise Olsen Cover Image
Not available, maybe be backordered or out of print
ISBN: 9780807008676
Published: Beacon Press - October 26th, 2021

Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food By Megan Kimble Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062382467
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 23rd, 2015