Man pleads guilty
A Red Bay man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl pled to child abuse in the midst of the trial Wednesday morning.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said that Jeff Pentegraph, 52, of 111 Sixth Street in Red Bay, decided to plead guilty to child abuse in the midst of a trial where he was charged with raping a seven-year-old child.
"After discussing the settlement with the victim's family, we decided to accept the plea of guilty on a lesser charge of child abuse," Rushing said.
Rushing said that the plea agreement stimulated that Pentegraph would have to serve a 15-year sentence.
"Mr. Pentegraph has applied for probation, but that would be up to the judge at sentencing," Rushing said.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, the victim's family will be allowed to make a statement to the judge prior to the judge passing sentencing.
Rushing said the agreement stems from the child's inconsistencies on the stand and the lack of physical evidence to support testimony.
"Anytime you are dealing with a child victim, it's important to understand that the child is not going to remember every little detail. Children tend to want to forget the incident and put it out of the mind," Rushing said about the testimony inconsistencies.
Pentegraph remains free on bond until sentencing, which is expected in May.