Sunday, August 7, 2022

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway - Code of Silence: Inside the Case That Led to the First Federal Judge to be Impeached for Sexual Misconduct by Lise Olsen

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Code of Silence: Inside the Case That Led to the First Federal Judge to be Impeached for Sexual Misconduct by Lise Olsen. This book tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Code of Silence: Inside the Case That Led to the First Federal Judge to be Impeached for Sexual Misconduct
Author: Lise Olsen
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: August 9th 2022
Print Length: 288 pages
Genre: True Crime
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, investigative reporter Lise Olsen charts McBroom’s assault and the aftermath, when McBroom was thrust into the role of whistle-blower 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.

*Autographed copies available through the following Texas Indie booksellers:
 | Bookwoman (Austin) | Brazos Books (Houston) |
| Deep Vellum (Dallas) | Galveston Bookshop |
| Interabang Books (Dallas) | Literarity (El Paso) |
Winner of the 2022 Investigative Reporters and Editors' Book Award.

Winner of the 2022 Texas Institute of Letters Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction.

"Another "true crime" book is being published later this month. But Code of Silence by Lise Olsen is not like most books - or podcasts -of that popular genre. For starters, there is no murder. We know who dunnit from the beginning. And it is anything but insensitive toward the victims and their families, a common criticism of many true crime stories. The culprit this time wasn't a marginal member of society. U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent was a federal judge, known for both his brilliance and his bullying.” –Rick Casey, San Antonio Report

"A gutting new #metoo book," –Rose Cahalan, Texas Monthly

"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." –Anita Hill

Code of Silence is a beautifully written, disturbing as hell example of how the American experiment fails when it lets men set themselves up as kings." –Houston Chronicle.
Flight: Houston and Galveston, Texas, March 2007


Cathy McBroom felt herself unraveling as she drove back to the brick house she shared with her husband, Rex, and youngest son, Caleb, in the quiet Houston suburb of Clear Lake. It was still early on Friday, March 23, 2007. She hoped to find comfort from Rex, but discovered him already asleep in his work clothes on the chestnut brown leather couch in their living room. For a while, she sat silently beside him. He didn’t stir. She began to cry and to repeat her husband’s name, softly and then in a staccato beat. The longer she sat there, the more her anguish and anger grew. “Wake up!” she finally screamed. Still, he slept on.

Rex was often tired on Friday nights. He worked punishing ten- to twelve-hour shifts in a chemical plant, a behemoth pressure cooker of an operation that belched out smoke and fumes and operated 24/7, often in ungodly weather. He spent many long, tense workdays responding to emergencies as a troubleshooter and often arrived home exhausted. Yet on this particular Friday, Cathy McBroom felt sure he was dozing out of a desire to avoid dealing with her crisis. She was used to managing stress as the case manager for a federal judge, but felt ready to explode.

Feeling anger surge again, McBroom abandoned efforts to wake him and strode into the master bath to wash her face. McBroom felt none of the calming effect of the cool water. She regarded the stranger in her mirror with disgust. The ravaged woman appeared distraught. Her makeup was a mess. Her eyes drifted to a red vase she’d placed on the corner of the vanity. It became a vessel for the anger she could no longer contain. She grabbed it from the counter and hurled it at the mirror. Her reflection disappeared in an explosion that sounded like a shotgun blast. Mirror shards scattered and sharp pieces of her reflected sadness now seemed to cover the cold ceramic tile, but the vase bounced. It remained uncracked and intact.

Rex McBroom finally stirred. “What’s going on?”

“If you’d wake up then maybe you would know!” McBroom shouted. Then she strode across the living room, grabbed her purse, left the house, and drove away. McBroom stormed off to her friend’s house and asked to stay the night, making up some excuse. But she couldn’t sleep. Early the next morning, she still felt too shaken to go home.

Cathy McBroom
She climbed back in her SUV and called her mother, Mary Ann Schopp. “Something terrible happened at work,” McBroom said into the phone. Without thinking about it, McBroom already had begun to drive to her mother’s bungalow in El Lago, a quiet neighborhood tucked behind Houston’s NASA Space Center. Her visit was entirely unexpected. McBroom was supposed to be meeting her mother later that Saturday to celebrate her youngest son’s thirteenth birthday. Instead, McBroom was now cancelling her part in those party plans.

“I’ll need you to take over for me,” McBroom told her mother, using the same businesslike tone she normally reserved for her federal court job.

“I can handle that,” Schopp replied, then paused in surprise. Skipping Caleb’s birthday party was totally out of sync with her daughter’s supermom style. McBroom had raised three children, but Caleb, the baby, was the only one left at home. Still, Schopp knew not to ask questions. Pretty much everything that happened with her daughter’s job at the federal courthouse was top secret.

Minutes later, McBroom pulled her silver Nissan Murano into the driveway. McBroom, then forty-eight, was a native Texan and normally meticulous about her appearance. She rarely appeared anywhere without her hair carefully coiffed and her makeup neatly applied, but now she got out of the SUV looking spent and wearing borrowed jogging shorts and a wrinkled T-shirt. As she stepped through the back door into her mother’s neat kitchen, she fell silent and fought back tears. Her mother pulled her into their usual hug and McBroom mumbled, “I could not pretend to enjoy myself at the birthday party.” She knew (but did not say) that her insightful youngest son, a straight-talking middle school student, would ask questions she felt unprepared to answer. Why had she left work so early? Why had she argued with his father and fled?

McBroom’s mother fetched cups of coffee and they sat together at the tiny wooden table. Rays of sunlight streaming in the kitchen window failed to lighten the mood. Schopp could only guess this unexpected crisis must have something to do with that white-haired giant of a judge, the domineering man who’d styled himself as king of the Galveston federal courthouse.

Lise Olsen is a Texas-based investigative reporter and author who has uncovered many twisted tales, including crooked judges, an unjust execution, massive environmental disasters, myriad cases of corruption, and unsolved serial killings. Her reporting has contributed to the prosecutions of a former congressman and a federal judge, inspired laws and reforms, helped solve cold cases, restored names to unidentified murder victims, and freed dozens of wrongfully-held prisoners. Her work is featured in CNN's "The Wrong Man" (2015) about the innocence claims of executed offender Ruben Cantu and the six-part A&E series on the victims of a 1970s serial killer, The Eleven, (2017). CODE OF SILENCE is her first book - the paperback from BEACON PRESS is out this month. She is at work on a second book: the SCIENTIST AND THE SERIAL KILLER.

Win an autographed copy of Code of Silence by Lise Olsen - three winners, US only.
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. The author, Lise Olsen, assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)

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