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Judge Arner Tosses Alleged Sex Offender’s Plea; Jury Selection Scheduled for March

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 12:02 AM

Posted by Scott Shindledecker

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A plea agreement for a Clarion man who pleaded no contest to charges related to the sexual exploitation of a young boy drew the ire of Clarion County President Judge James Arner last Wednesday.

Johnny L. Pennington, III, 30, of Clarion, was to be sentenced February 7 after he pleaded no contest on August 30, 2017, to a second-degree felony count of the sexual exploitation of a child and a first-degree misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

As part of the plea, a first-degree felony charge of criminal solicitation-rape of a child was dismissed.

However, Judge Arner wasn’t pleased that the plea agreement only called for two years jail time.

Arner said that “Pennington never took responsibility for these acts.”

“The court finds the plea agreement unacceptable,” the judge added.

Judge Arner ruled that Pennington appear in Courtroom 1 at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 9, for a pre-trial conference. He also ordered jury selection for March 19-20.

Pennington remains lodged in the Clarion County Jail on $25,000.00 cash bail.

The Pennington case began on November 22, 2016, when Clarion County Children and Youth Services (CYS) contacted Clarion-based State Police advising they had received a phone call from a known woman who stated that Johnny Pennington had propositioned her to perform oral sex on a seven-year-old boy while he watched.

The known woman stated that Pennington sent her a snap chat message detailing what he wanted to watch her do and that the thought of it brought him sexual pleasure.

The known woman showed police a screenshot of the snap chat message from Pennington. She stated that “she knew without a doubt that the message came from him.”

Police viewed the message that was sent, and it was confirmed that Pennington asked the known woman to perform a sexual act on “(a juvenile boy) and that he would get pleasure from watching.”

The case appeared it would go before a jury in August 2017 after a jury had been selected on July 25, but Pennington entered the no contest plea on August 30, the same day the trial was scheduled to begin.

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