Jamie Satterfield knoxnews.com-A Harriman lawyer who paid a 14-year-old girl for sexual encounters he then videotaped walked away from a Loudon County courtroom Tuesday with probation.
Kent Booher, 59, struck a deal to plead guilty to lesser charges of statutory rape. He had been charged with especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation of a minor and three counts of aggravated statutory rape.
As part of the plea bargain, Booher received a three-year probationary sentence and must be listed on the state's Sex Offender Registry for 13 years. He will pay no fines but was assessed court costs.
Cortney Dugger, a prosecutor and spokesman for the 9th Judicial District Attorney General's Office, cited a gag order issued by Senior Judge Paul Summers in declining to comment. Summers took over the case after Loudon judges recused themselves. It is not clear why Summers specifically barred the DA's office from issuing any "formal press release" in Booher's case, as the plea agreement states, but similar gag orders also were issued by Summers in two other cases involving the same teenage victim.
In a concession to prosecutors, Booher agreed to a sentence higher than the maximum two-year sentence for statutory rape. If he runs afoul of the rules of his probation, he would be ordered to serve his sentence behind bars.
The plea deal came after Booher's alleged partner in the case, Malina Nanette Akin, 37, of Lenoir City, took her case to trial last week. A jury deadlocked. The DA's office has said she will be retried. A status conference is set Oct. 10.
Akin was charged with providing the teenage girl to Booher for sex. Her relationship to the girl has not been released by law enforcement. She is identified only with initials in court records and does not bear Akin's last name. Records indicate she was also a victim in another case in which a Loudon County man paid to have sex with her. The defendant in that case is serving an eight-year sentence.
According to court records, Booher repeatedly paid to have sex with the girl between December 2012 and May 2013. He videotaped the liaisons and also ordered the girl to send him nude photographs.
Records for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, which polices lawyers, show Booher's law license remains intact. As part of the plea agreement, however, records of his conviction will be sent to the board for consideration of disciplinary action.
Booher has twice been publicly censured by the board, including a reprimand issued after he was indicted in the sex case. Board records state he lied to the board during an investigation of a complaint about his handling of a probate case in 2012. He was again censured in July after he lost an appeal but kept that secret from his client. By the time the client found out, too much time had elapsed for a challenge of the appeal to be filed with the Tennessee Supreme Court.