Fayette County deputy constable is charged with promoting prostitution

A Fayette County deputy constable has been arrested on charges of promoting prostitution of two or more prostitutes, permitting prostitution, and first-degree official misconduct, and the elected official who appointed the deputy constable says there are no plans to suspend him.

Deputy Constable Dannie R. Pendygraft, 58, is accused of trading rent for sexual favors from two prostitutes who lived at his property at 737 Maple Avenue and a third woman who lived in an apartment at 567 North Upper Street.

The prostitutes told police that when they got behind in their rent, Pendygraft gave them extra time to pay if they would perform oral sex on him, according to criminal complaints filed in Fayette District Court.

He also encouraged them to "turn tricks" to earn rent money, the documents stated.

One of the prostitutes told police that she performed oral sex on Pendygraft "to waive the $100 'moving in fee,' " according to the documents.

Pendygraft eventually evicted at least one of the women for being behind on rent, the documents said.

A third woman who lived in an Upper Street apartment over which Pendygraft was the landlord told police on Dec. 22 that he gave her "the choice of having sex with him or be evicted."

Over a two-year period, that woman "had a multitude of sexual encounters with Mr. Pendygraft in order to not be evicted from her apartment," the criminal complaint stated.

"At one point, Mr. Pendygraft placed a fraudulent seven day to pay rent notice on her door for $1,800. This was to coerce her into succumbing to his sexual advances," the complaint said.

All three of the women said Pendygraft always wore his constable badge around his neck and had his gun in his holster; the complaint said he "used his constable badge and gun to invoke himself as an authority on all the listed victims to benefit from them sexually."

The criminal complaint said official misconduct "refers to an official benefitting from not performing a duty imposed upon him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office. In this case, Mr. Pendygraft has personally benefitted by permitting prostitution at the residence of 737 Maple Avenue. Not only in sexual favors, but the rent money he was paid by subjects he knew were prostituting themselves on the property."

Joyce Clater, Fayette County's elected constable for the First District, said she appointed Pendygraft as a deputy constable about two years ago, and she has no plans to suspend him.

Fayette County has three elected constables, who serve papers notifying people to appear in court. They may appoint deputies to help them with the job.

Clater said that as far as she is concerned, Pendygraft can continue to work as a deputy constable.

"I've never had it happen before," she said of the charges against Pendygraft. "I really don't know any of the particulars about it at all. ... It could be something that's not really what it seems to be."

Clater said she has known Pendygraft for 15 years or more, because her office has often served eviction papers for him at the properties he manages.

"He's an excellent worker," she said. "I don't have any problem with him at all."

She said Pendygraft works "pretty much full-time" serving court subpoenas and other such documents for her office.

She said each deputy receives $20 of the $40 her office receives each time papers are served.

It was not clear Saturday night who in city government has ultimate authority over deputy constables. Pendygraft did not immediately return a telephone call to his home.

He was arrested Friday but later released on bond from the Fayette County Detention Center.

Pendygraft is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Fayette District Court.