Man sentenced in abuse case

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
A Red Bay man will serve two years of a 15-year sentence in jail after pleading guilty to child abuse.
Jeffrey Allen Pendergraph, 51, of 111 Sixth St. in Red Bay, pleaded guilty to child abuse after testimony in the case against him began in April.
He was initially indicted in 2006 on first-degree rape and child abuse charges.
Child abuse is a Class C felony and is punishable by one to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
Pendergraph was accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl who was a family acquaintance. The girl is now nine and testified against Pendergraph on the first day of his April trial.
Before testimony began the next day, Pendergraph agreed to plea guilty on the abuse charges.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said the girl's family agreed to the plea offer that was made by Pendergraph.
He said the same offer was made to Pendergraph prior to the trial but he would not accept it at that time. Rushing said the victim's family was willing to accept the plea to keep their child from going through the matter again.
Officials said the child had to undergo counseling for the trauma she received from the alleged abuse.
After serving two years in prison, Pendergraph will spend five years on probation.

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