The big scandal this weekend in the NKY is Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry, who is apparently a refugee from a Scott Turow legal thriller in real life.
The judge is accused of seeking to or having sex with people she employed and appointed to a panel designed to help abused children. There are three people connected to those claims.
Katherine Schulz reportedly quit a panel the judge appointed her to after the judge flirted with her via Snapchat, pressured her to seduce the judge’s husband and asked her to join the judge and a former church pastor in a threesome.
That former pastor is Stephen Penrose, who the judge hired as her case specialist after she reportedly asked the former specialist, Meredith Smith, to resign. Then, Gentry gave Penrose a salary $10,000 more than Smith’s, according to payroll records The Enquirer obtained through a Kentucky Open Records Act Request.
"You hired Stephen Penrose because you were engaged in a personal relationship with him, not on the basis of merit," investigators wrote.
Penrose and Gentry were in a band together, too, called South of Cincy. Penrose played guitar and Gentry was the bassist. The band's Facebook page was taken down Wednesday evening after reports of the investigation surfaced.
State investigators claimed Gentry and Penrose had a personal sexual relationship. Gentry also "improperly delegated judicial functions," to Penrose, according to the charges.
The investigation also claimed that the two engaged in sexual activities in a courthouse office during work hours with Gentry's secretary, Laura Aubrey. Gentry also approved inaccurate time sheets for Penrose and Aubrey, according to the charges.
But it gets worse.
The state alleged the judge appointed attorney Delana Sanders to the panel in exchange for her husband Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders' support. The Sanders donated quadruple the amount Mike Hummel donated to Gentry’s campaign. Hummel was removed from the panel shortly after the election, he told The Enquirer.
The Sanders donated a combined total of $3,450. Hummel donated $750, according to public campaign finance records.
The state claimed Gentry coerced attorneys on the panel designed to help abused children to donate the maximum amount to her 2018 reelection campaign.
Gentry, a Republican, became judge in 2016 when outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin picked her to fill a vacancy. She was re-elected to a four-year-term in 2018.
The judge, according to the charges, also required panel members to serve on her campaign's finance committee and asked an attorney to put up a campaign sign while they were in court.
Ahh, but she's a Republican after all, and the whole point of Republican-appointed judges is to be reprehensibly cruel.
When people didn't do what the judge wanted, she retaliated, state investigators claim.
She retaliated against:
- Former case specialist Meredith Smith for not sufficiently supporting the judge's campaign.
- Attorney Mike Hummel for failing to make the maximum donation to her campaign and declining to campaign on your behalf by removing him from the panel.
- Attorneys who did not support her campaign by delaying hearing dates for their cases.
- School liaison officer Kelly Blevins for supporting her opponent in the 2018 election.
It seems Gentry wasn't honest with the commission about some of their inquiries.
"You failed to be candid and honest with the Commission in a previous inquiry regarding the appointment of Ms. Sanders and the firing of Ms. Smith and Mr. Hummel, as well as about the quality of Mr. Hummel’s work on the GAL panel," the documents read.
So had an affair on company time, took campaign money from her lovers, extorted her staff and attorneys who appeared before her, abused the power of her office to harm people who didn't do her bidding, and of course she was appointed by outgoing asshole Gov. Matt Bevin.
A real piece of work, this one.
Par for the course for the GOP though.