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Martinsville man sentenced in federal court to sex crimes involving teenage girl
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Martinsville man sentenced in federal court to sex crimes involving teenage girl

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A Martinsville man once charged with raping a teenager has been sentenced to 11 years and 8 months in federal prison for possessing child pornography and possession of a firearm after having been previously convicted of a felony.

In February, charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery of a teenage girl were dropped in Martinsville Circuit Court against Terrance Antwain Penn, 38, and in April additional charges of possession of cocaine and possession of heroin with intent to distribute were dropped as well.

“The federal body of law most often has the most bite,” Martinsville Commonwealth Attorney Andrew Hall said in February. “We work with the feds, and if they have they bigger stick—and 99 times out of 100 they do—then that’s what we do.”

“The investigation of the case was conducted by the ATF with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations and the Martinsville Police Department,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar of the Western District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in an announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin B. Johnson prosecuted the case for the United States.

Former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Paula Bowen said in February that calling the victim to the witness stand was not practical.

“Our victim is in a long-term-care facility, and I don’t want to pull her out of that facility,” Bowen said. “She’s in a situation where she is receiving long-term treatment.”

The Martinsville Bulletin does not name minors in criminal proceedings and does not name alleged victims in cases involving sexual assault or similar elements.

In the dismissed case in February, according to a statement from Martinsville Police Sgt. C.S. Boblett, on Dec. 6 the girl told police she had met Penn through a mutual friend, and sometime between Nov. 16 and Nov. 28, Penn brandished a firearm towards the girl and forced her to “perform oral sex and have vaginal sex” on at least six occasions.

“Each time force was either used or implied by a direct threat or the presentation of a black-and-silver, semi-auto pistol,” Boblett wrote.

The girl told police Penn used a phone to record the sexual activity and provided descriptions of the two cell phones that Penn used, a release stated.

After a traffic stop on Dec. 7, 2019, police searched Penn’s vehicle and found two cell phones that matched the girl’s description and a loaded Taurus, model G2C, 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the center console, the release said.

Investigators obtained search warrants for Penn’s phones and found video of the sexual acts as the girl described still on the phones.

Penn was 36 years old, and the girl was 15 at the time the incidents occurred.

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt.

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