A federal judge has sentenced a Knott County man to four consecutive life sentences for drug trafficking and sexually abusing the young children of parents he encountered during his trafficking operations, acting U.S. Attorney Carlton Shier IV said Thursday in a release.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar sentenced Freddie Kennedy Jr. on one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone; seven counts of crossing a state line with the intent to engage in a sex act with a minor under the age of 12; and 10 counts of transporting a minor under the age of 18 across a state line with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Parole is not available in the federal system, so Kennedy must serve the entirety of his life sentence.
A jury convicted Kennedy in February after a two-day trial. The evidence at trial established that from April 2013 to June 2015, Kennedy organized a drug conspiracy in which several others traveled to out-of-state pain clinics to illegally obtain prescription drugs.
Never miss a local story.
In exchange for funding these trips, Kennedy received a portion of the drugs, which he then distributed to local dealers and users in Knott and Perry counties. The conspiracy was responsible for the illegal distribution of thousands of oxycodone pills.
The evidence also established that, on multiple occasions and beginning sometime around October 2013, Kennedy had sexual contact with four children, including with three who were under the age of the 10 at the time he abused them.
Kennedy gained access to these minor victims because he encountered their parents during his drug-trafficking operations. Kennedy would offer to watch the young children.
According to the evidence, while watching the children, Kennedy intentionally groomed them, buying them expensive presents and taking them to the movies, out to eat, and to go shopping, in an effort to gain their trust.
While some of the sexual abuse occurred at Kennedy’s residences in Perry and Knott counties, much of it occurred during separate out-of-state trips, where he took the young children with him. Kennedy took them for overnight stays at a hotel in Indiana. The young children stayed in the same room with Kennedy and, on each occasion, Kennedy engaged in sexual acts with the victims.