About Alissa Sherry, Ph.D.
Alissa Sherry, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who has been conducting forensic evaluations for the courts since 2005. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law, a peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to the contribution of psychological science to law and public policy. She was a tenured professor in Counseling Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin for 13 years, where she published numerous articles on topics related to diversity and lifespan development, before leaving to start her company, Legal Consensus, a practice devoted to forensic evaluations for the courts. It was during her time as Associate Director for the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at UT Austin that she met Cathy McBroom and Donna Wilkerson and became fascinated by their story.
Perversion of Justice
Perversion of Justice is a thoroughly researched, narrative non-fiction account of the downfall of Federal Judge Samuel B. Kent, who was impeached and sentenced to prison in 2009 following the sexual assault of two working class women under his employ, Cathy McBroom and Donna Wilkerson.
The #MeToo movement has yet to explore the unchecked power of tens of thousands of members of the judiciary in the United States, including the more than 1700 federal judges who have lifetime appointments that can only be interrupted by retirement, death, or Congressional impeachment. Perversion of Justice begins to dissect this uniquely powerful system through the eyes of Cathy and Donna.
Judge Kent was a federal judge for the 5th Circuit, the appeals court that hears most of our nation’s civil rights cases. On March 23, 2007, he summoned his case manager, Cathy McBroom, to his office where he sexually assaulted her. This was not the first time he assaulted Cathy and Cathy was not his first victim…
Working Title: Murder, Racism, and Truth in Gary, Indiana
“An amazing feature of Gary, built as it is on shifting sands, is that it is actually so solid, so permanent, so strong. There is nothing suggestive of the shoddy or the temporary.”
—Robert Shackleton, The Book of Chicago, 1920
And that was how Gary was when Sean Kelly’s father moved the family there in 1940 to take a job in the steel mill. By the time Sean was 17, the Great Migration had continued to bring African Americans to the region with hopes of freedom and living wages. When Sean was 10, Mattie Johnson and her family moved into the house across the street. She was also 10, and Sean’s mother, in defiance of her husband, arranged with Mattie’s mother for Sean to safely walk Mattie to and from school everyday. The schools in Gary had never been segregated like they were in the south, not as a matter of law anyway. By the time he was 17, Sean was in love with Mattie, as she was with him. The two found their ways to ease the electricity between them, as all teenagers do, but otherwise walked side by side as if the whole world was watching.
On one such walk home, Sean stopped in the corner store for a pop while Mattie waited for him outside. When he came out, she was gone. Completely disappeared. Her body was found two weeks later, beaten, bound, and sexually assaulted….