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Former KSP Trooper gets six years in prison for drugs-for-sex scheme

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory VanTatenhove told former state trooper Michael Fred Pennington that what he did when he traded Lortab pills for sexual favors it was a very, very serious abuse of public trust in sentencing him to 74 months (six years and two months) in prison.

While VanTatenhove noted that he had no choice in the sentence for the charge of which he was found guilty, carrying a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carried a mandatory five-year prison sentence.  he did have some leeway when it comes to the two counts of trafficking drugs. Each charge carried a potential prison sentence of 10 to 16 months, which the judge may order served concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (back-to-back).

"I'm sorry the court had to hear this," Pennington said, "I made the biggest mistake of my life."

VanTatenhove noted that Pennington's crimes are not serious when compared to crimes such as murder, rape or robbery.

"It really goes to the heart of people's expectations of those charged with protecting them," VanTatenhove said. "This undermines that."

Based on numerous letters written by family and friends on Pennington's behalf, Pennington's willingness to accept responsibility for his actions and the remorse he has shown and the substance of the person he has shown beyond that one day VanTatenhove ordered Pennnington to serve 14 months on each of the drug trafficking counts, concurrently.

Following his release from prison, Pennington will be placed on supervised release for four years.

Pennington pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charges in May  and was later found guilty of possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug crime.

The case stems from an incident in Sept., 2011 when Pennington went to the victim's trailer on Tom Town Hollow Road off of U.S. 25W in Corbin to escort a social services worker who was investigating child abuse allegations.

According to officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Pennington spotted a crushed Lortab pill and found a container with additional pills while at the residence. He told the woman that if she had sex with him, he would not arrest or charge her.

The woman notified state police of Pennington's actions and an investigation ensued.

Pennington returned to the woman's trailer about 4:30 a.m. where he offered the woman one of the pills he had taken from her residence the previous day in exchange for oral sex. At the time, Pennington was driving his police cruiser and in full uniform.

During cross examination by Pennington's attorney, James Hibbard at the trial in May, Capt. Scott Miller, commander of Post 11 in London where Pennington was assigned, said that Pennington was assigned to work with Laurel County Sheriff's deputies on a roundup of suspected drug dealers that morning and would be in uniform for that special detail.

However, under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Hawkins, Miller noted that Pennington lives in London and was to report to the sheriff's office, meaning there was no reason for him to be in Corbin.

Miller testified that state police had been tipped off about the situation and troopers had been stationed to watch the residence in case Pennington did arrive. Video surveillance had been set up both inside and outside the trailer. In addition, two troopers were hiding in the bedrooms of the trailer to take Pennington into custody before he could possibly harm the victim or himself.

"We formulated this plan to confirm or deny the allegation," Miller said. "I wanted to protect Freddy if it was a false complaint and if it was true, I wanted to have solid evidence."

Pennington was taken into custody minutes after he entered the residence. Miller drove Pennington back to Post 11.

Pennington offered his resignation soon after reaching post.

A search of Pennington's cruiser turned up additional pills.

"This case illustrates that the Kentucky State Police continues to react  quickly regarding allegations of misconduct involving an employee," said Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner. "Although this is a rare occurrence, it underscores the public oath we have taken to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from all criminals."



Jean Valjean (September 07, 2012) Reply

It's a shame that someone goes through all of the training and sacrifice and then throws it away over a sexual adventure. Cops, Judges, Doctors, Lawyers, Priests, Ministers, etc. They all do it, and this guy ruined his life and he will catch hell in prison when they find out he was a cop.

Kris (September 13, 2012) Reply

Yes i also agree it's a shame and a discrace to other actual citizen protecting officers to the officers that do right, but cops like pennington and about 6 to 8 more easily estimateting crooked cops that pretty much give other officers a bad reputation when they dont deserve to carry the title of a crooked cop. Because of his selfish, immature, an degrading acting was makes it hard for citizens to even call on the law when they really need help, when in fact we shouldnt even have to second guess trusting the law who took an oath to serve n protect, not the oath of try to seduce n pill it up. As a citizen that knows our law there are still some very fine serious about their jobs officers left but for the others i think u should get maxium sentencing w no chance of probation i even think pennington n neighbert got off way to easy, you shouldnt abuse ur authority for no reason or excuse, and i think they should get hell in prison when they find out hes a cop how do u think the female felt in her situation taking a stand and not knowing wether or not she would have been taken serious...and to the officers that actually do, do theirs jobs to help tryin protect u n me I do APPRECIATE it....

JASON R LESTER (September 18, 2012) Reply

Police officers should get double time for the crimes they commit. I was once in the military and the military law was much harsher than civilian law. I think something like that should be put in place to deter officers from thinking about doing something as terrible as this.

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