KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On August 24, 2022, the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, sentenced Kent Lowery Booher, 67, of Harriman, Tennessee, to serve life plus 120 months in federal prison on child exploitation charges.
Booher, a disbarred criminal defense attorney and prior sex offender, was found guilty of child exploitation crimes by a federal jury in April 2021 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2422(b), 2260A, 1591(a)(1), (b)(2), and 2251. Booher will also be ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the court at a later date.
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. 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. Additionally, at trial the jury convicted Booher of charges pertaining to the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old girl from 2012 to 2013.
“The lengthy sentence given by the Judge displays the gravity of crimes committed against children and the punishments those who commit them will face,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III. “It is our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
The lead agency in this investigation was the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. 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, assisted with the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kolman and Frank M. Dale, Jr. represented the United States at trial.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.