HENDERSON — A former Henderson Police Department captain has pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery as part of a plea deal that among other things will require him to register as a sex offender.
Tony R. Pendergrass, 58, also has to serve five days in the Granville County Jail, avoid contact with the victim and his family for five years, pay $483 in fines and court costs, pay jail fees, and remain on unsupervised probation for two years.
District Judge Amanda Stevenson handed down the sentence on Wednesday, suspending a maximum possible jail sentence of 60 days.
Pendergrass was accused of touching and “manually stimulating” the victim’s penis by force and against the victim’s will, which by definition in North Carolina is “sexual conduct” and hence sexual battery, a misdemeanor.
State law defines rape as vaginal intercourse, and a “sexual act” that can support a felony sexual-offense charge as being other types of pentration or oral sex, with the victim’s lack of consent and the use of force also being required factors.
The prosecution’s statement of charges said the incident that landed Pendergrass on the wrong side of the law happened in May 2020, almost a year ago.
Assistant District Attorney Brent Groce said the ensuing complaint “was investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation,” and that the outcome “was the result of that methodical, thorough and thoughtful investigation.”
Detectives had the help of “a brave victim of a serious offense who has an incredible support system,” Groce added.
That continued up through Wednesday’s sentencing, as before Stevenson ruled she “heard from the victim’s mother, who read an impassioned statement to the court concerning the impact that Mr. Pendergrass’ criminal behavior has had on her son and their family,” Groce said.
Contact Ray Gronberg at email@example.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.