Former trooper convicted of using gun while soliciting sex during drug crime

A former state trooper accused of using his gun while soliciting a woman for sex during a drug crime has been convicted.

A jury in federal court in London convicted Fred Pennington Friday, but documents confirming the verdict were not available on the court Web site until Monday.

Pennington, 35, will face at least five years in prison on the gun charge.

He also pleaded guilty to two drug charges in the case. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.

The incident that led to Pennington's conviction happened in September.

A Corbin woman said that when Pennington came to her home with a social worker as part of an investigation, the trooper found pain pills that she abused.

Pennington said he would ignore the evidence of a drug crime if she would have sex with him, Regina West, 28, testified last week.

Pennington wanted to return to her home early the next morning, while her husband was at work.

At her sister's urging, West told state police about the solicitation. State police installed hidden video equipment at her house, and two officers hid in a back room to wait for Pennington.

When Pennington came back and repeated his request that West perform oral sex on him, officers emerged and disarmed him.

Pennington, who had been a trooper 10 years, resigned.

He was charged in federal court this year with possessing and distributing drugs. The charges related to pills he took from West but planned to give back as part of his sexual solicitation.

Police found the pills in Pennington's cruiser after catching him at West's house.

Pennington also was charged with using his 40-caliber Glock pistol in furtherance of a drug crime. That charge was based on the contention that Pennington's gun helped him intimidate West into going along with his request for sex.

Pennington pleaded guilty on the drug charges but fought the gun charge, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence.

Pennington is to be sentenced Sept. 6.

"This case illustrates that the Kentucky State Police continues to react quickly regarding allegations of misconduct involving an employee," Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police commissioner, said in a statement issued through Harvey's office.

"Although this is a rare occurrence, it underscores the public oath we have taken to protect the citizens of the commonwealth from all criminals," Brewer said.