The case of a Corbin Middle School counselor who had been charged with endangering the welfare of a minor has been dismissed.
An agreed order of dismissal in the case against Stephanie Pennington was signed by Special Judge Jeffrey S. Lawless, a district court judge who serves the 28th Judicial District in Pulaski and Rockcastle counties.
While acknowledging that a minor child was provided alcohol by another minor while spending the night at Pennington’s home, it was without her knowledge and Pennington did not provide the alcohol.
Under Kentucky law, endangering the welfare of a minor is defined as, “A parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care of custody of a minor is guilty of endangering the welfare of a minor when he fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him from becoming a neglected, dependent or delinquent child.”
“At the time of the incident, the defendant Pennington has not been, ‘legally charged with the care or custody of the minor child’ in question,” the agreed order states.
Pennington was cited to court on June 1 following an investigation into a complaint by one of the parents.
“There has to be a certain type of relationship such as teacher/student or coach/player,” said Pennington’s attorney, Wes Tipton. “In this particular case it was simply a sleepover.”
“There is no statute that carries a charge for this circumstance,” Tipton added.
Corbin Police Detective Coy Wilson, the department’s public affairs officer, said previously that police were called to Pennington’s residence after the parent complained that Pennington had failed to contact her after the teens had become intoxicated.
Wilson said several of the teens had reportedly snuck the alcohol into the home and that Pennington was not aware they had it.
“This was a typical situation where it was a sleepover with teenage girls. As soon as Stephanie found out about the alcohol, she stopped the get-together and told them to call their parents. That’s it,” Tipton said previously
“She had the correct response,” Tipton added. “She made sure all the kids were okay.”
The case had initially been scheduled in Whitley District Court Judge Cathy Prewitt’s court.
However, both Prewitt and Whitley County Attorney Bob Hammons recused themselves citing potential conflicts of interest.
Each acknowledged that they either knew Pennington or a member of her immediate family. In addition, Hammons serves as the attorney for the Corbin Board of Education.