PORT TOWNSEND — A former Hoh tribal fisheries officer has been sentenced after he pleaded guilty to third-degree rape of a child.
Ernest Allen Penn, 44, was sentenced Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court to 12 months plus one day in prison in addition to 36 months of community custody.
Judge Keith Harper accepted deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie’s recommendation, which included $600 in legal financial obligations and no contact with minors except his own children, who are 13 and 11, according to court documents.
Penn pleaded guilty in July to having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Harper denied the consideration of a Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA), which could have allowed Penn to live on his sister’s property near Forks while he faces pending charges in Clallam County.
After Friday’s hearing, Penn was transported to the Clallam County Corrections Facility, where he is being held on $250,000 bond.
Charges in Clallam County include third-degree rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Defense attorney Richard Davies said Penn intends to plead guilty and faces up to 48 months that would run consecutively with the sentence in Jefferson County.
All of the charges are felonies.
Penn declined to address the court on Friday.
“You have a tremendous amount of information before you that really shows you who Mr. Penn is,” Davies said. “He acknowledges he made a mistake in getting into a relationship with this young woman.”
Penn underwent a psycho-sexual exam in October with Joseph A. Jensen, a Silverdale psychologist, according to court records. The 21-page document covers his family background and upbringing, academic history, self-reported substance abuse, criminal and work history as well as sexual history.
During the exam, Penn said there were 14 or 15 incidents of intercourse with the girl between October or November 2017 in a relationship that lasted about eight months, according to Jensen’s report.
The girl lived in the same Forks neighborhood, court documents said. Her mother addressed the court in August and said Penn was childhood friends with the girl’s father.
“You spotted a vulnerable child and convinced her to give everything special to you,” the girl’s mother said.
St. Marie said last week the state was not in favor of a SSOSA.
On Friday, Davies said it would be significantly different if Penn didn’t have pending charges in Clallam County.
“He’s got a tremendous amount of support, and you’ve seen that in the letters submitted to you on his behalf,” Davies told the court.
Jensen’s report stated Penn passed a polygraph exam which indicated he was not being deceptive when he answered questions about his involvement with other minors. The report concluded the 15-year-old girl is the only sexual contact Penn has had with a minor.
The document stated Penn is at an average risk to re-offend at about 4 percent within five years following his return to the community.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].