Defense attorney gets life sentence for exploiting children

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

An East Tennessee defense attorney has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in federal prison after he was convicted of child exploitation charges. 

Kent Lowery Booher, 67, of Harriman, was busted trying to meet an uncover cop that he believed was a 14-year-old girl as well as victimizing a 15-year-old girl, authorities said Monday.

A jury convicted Booher last year and he was sentenced to life plus 120 months by U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan during a hearing held Thursday at the federal courthouse in downtown Knoxville, officials said. He will also be required to pay restitution at a later date. 

“The lengthy sentence given by the judge displays the gravity of crimes committed against children and the punishments those who commit them will face,” U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III said. “It is our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”

Booher had been disbarred and was already a registered sex offender at the time of the offenses, said a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson in a press release.

“According to the evidence presented at trial, Booher used a telephone, as well as Facebook and other electronic messaging platforms to communicate with an undercover officer that he thought was a 14-year-old girl,” the spokesperson said.

“Over a five-day period, Booher engaged in sexually explicit communications with an officer that he believed to be minor.  Booher arranged to meet the minor in person, at which time Booher was arrested by agents of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Harriman Police Department,” they continued.

“Additionally, at trial the jury convicted Booher of charges pertaining to the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old girl from 2012 to 2013,” said the spokesperson.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kolman and Frank M. Dale. 

The lead agency in the investigation was the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, but it was assisted by the Knoxville Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, Lenoir City Police Department, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Harriman Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Department of Corrections, and U.S. Secret Service.

Published on August 30, 2022.