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HomeNewsLocal newsJudge Rejects Attempt to Dismiss Rape Case

Judge Rejects Attempt to Dismiss Rape Case

The trial of a man accused of raping and abusing a female minor over the course of six years is scheduled to start Oct. 17. (Shutterstock image)

Attempts to dismiss a pending trial for an accused sexual predator were recently rebuffed by a judge in Superior Court on St. Thomas. Judge Sigrid Tejo set an Oct. 17 trial date for accused child predator Richard Penn Jr.

The defendant faces 10 counts of assaulting a minor who was living in his household between September 2011 and July 2017. Charges include aggravated rape, unlawful sexual conduct, and child abuse committed as acts of domestic violence.

Prosecutors say the offenses began when the alleged victim was 12 years old. Court records show that criminal charges were first filed in 2018 as a complex felony. The case was assigned to Tejo from a different judge along the way.

At a pre-trial hearing held Monday at the Alexander Farrelly Justice Complex, the prosecutor and the defense attorney said they could not locate the victim.

“Your Honor, we cannot reach the victim. We’re still trying to reach out to the victim,” said Assistant Attorney General Eugene Connor. For that reason, he said Justice may agree with Penn’s lawyer and recommend dismissal.

But the judge said no. An extensive prior pre-trial hearing had already taken place, Tejo said, and several other witnesses had been identified.

“The court was set to go to trial in September but had to be rescheduled because the court had limited availability to find the victim. The people have had ample time to find the victim,” the judge said.

With that, she announced the October trial date. If convicted at trial, Penn faces a maximum sentence of no less than 25 years in prison.

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