Kentucky judge accused of courthouse threesome is suspended

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Judge Dawn Gentry, who is facing nine counts of misconduct, denies engaging in sexual activity at the courthouse with two employees.

Image: Judge Dawn Gentry, a family court judge in Kenton County, Kentucky.
Judge Dawn Gentry, a family court judge in Kenton County

(NBC News) – A Kentucky family court judge was suspended temporarily without pay after she was accused of misconduct, including having a threesome in the courthouse.

Judge Dawn Gentry, a family court judge in Kentucky’s northern 16th Judicial District, was charged with multiple counts of misconduct in November 2019 by the state Judicial Conduct Committee.

She was put on temporary paid suspension earlier this week, pending a final decision in the case.

Gentry is accused of coercing court staff to work on her judicial election campaign, retaliating against employees who failed to support her campaign, and hiring a man she had a sexual relationship with, according to a conduct committee document outlining the charges. She denies all of the accusations.

The judge, who was elected in November 2018, allegedly hired her lover, a former pastor, and then allowed him to play guitar and sing in the office, “disrupting other court employees during the workday,” according to the court documents. A lawyer for Gentry said she didn’t realize his behavior was a distraction, the documents show.

Gentry, her male lover, and a third court employee, a woman, also allegedly engaged in sexual activity in the courthouse. Gentry denies this, court documents show.

She also faces a slew of other allegations, including bringing her children to work and allowing them to witness confidential court proceedings. Once, her child recognized one of the children involved in a confidential case, the conduct committee alleges.

The committee also accused Gentry of approving false or inaccurate time sheets, and allowing staff to store and consume alcoholic beverages in court offices and consume alcohol in the courthouse. Gentry denies falsifying time sheets, and said through a lawyer in a court response that she had been unaware her staffers were drinking.

Stephen Ryan, Gentry’s lawyer, told NBC News on Wednesday that witnesses during court proceedings attested to Gentry’s skills as a judge, arguing that she was fit to remain on the bench.

“They said she was fair and listened to the arguments and wrote good legal opinions,” Ryan said, saying Gentry often presided over divorces, child neglect and abuse cases, and truancy issues.

Ryan said he expects that the temporary suspension will last one to two months, and said a hearing for her case should be set shortly.

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