La Center woman given double the recommended sentence

She pleaded guilty to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, possession of methamphetamine

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A judge on Thursday sentenced a La Center woman, who was accused of raping a 15-year-old boy and giving him methamphetamine, to 60 days in jail — double the sentence the attorneys had recommended.

Jennifer L. Tennant, 41, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, a gross misdemeanor, and possession of methamphetamine. She was originally facing three counts of third-degree rape of a child and delivering a controlled substance to a minor, Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty said.

The charges were amended as part of a plea deal, and the attorneys agreed to recommend a sentence of 30 days. However, Judge Robert Lewis ordered the longer sentence. Tennant was taken into custody following the hearing.

The abuse began in the summer of 2015 but wasn’t reported until February 2016. The boy told detectives that Tennant, whom he knows, abused him 20 to 30 times and also supplied him with methamphetamine on three separate occasions. He said they used the drug together but that he had also previously taken Tennant’s methamphetamine and used it without her knowledge, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Two witnesses told detectives they heard and saw what they believed to be sexual behavior between Tennant and the boy on more than one occasion, the affidavit said.

In addition to her sentence, she will serve 12 months of community custody on the drug conviction and 24 months’ probation on the sex crime. She is required to register as a sex offender and must undergo evaluations and treatment for substance abuse and sexual deviancy, McCarty said.

“When negotiating these cases, there are a lot of factors that go into them and one is the difficulty of this process on a victim,” McCarty said in a phone interview. He said that the victim’s well-being was taken into consideration in reaching the plea agreement.