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Bennington could serve 155 years in prison

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - A Bullitt Circuit Court jury has recommended that Perry Bennington serve the next 155 years in prison for 14 sex-related counts.

The jury deliberated about an hour on the penalty phase. The recommended sentences ranged from five to 20 years in prison with the recommendation to serve the terms consecutively. Bennington could serve 155 years in prison.

Final sentencing will be held June 8 at 10 a.m.

Bennington was found guilty on multiple charges of rape, sodomy and incest involving his daughter over a 16-year period dating back to 1974.

On Wednesday afternoon Bennington was found guilty of 14 charges including first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree sodomy.

Other charges included two counts of third-degree rape and two counts of third degree sodomy.

Bennington was also found guilty on six separate charges of incest.

Check Monday's edition of The Pioneer News and www.pioneernews.net for a full story.

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Victim claims sexual abuse happened for many years

SHEPHERDSVILLE – Perry Bennington looked to the side as his daughter told the jury of sexual abuse he imposed on her for over 16 years.

He would not look at the jury as she told them of the child he fathered with her when she was 16 years of age.

The four-man, nine-woman jury heard testimony Tuesday afternoon in the trial against Bennington.

He is accused of five counts of sodomy, three counts of rape and six counts of incest dating back to 1974 when his daughter was only six years of age.

Bennington, who has already entered a guilty plea on other allegations of sexual abuse, could serve 20 years to life in prison if convicted of the current charges.

The trial, which is expected to last throughout the week, got started on Tuesday in Bullitt Circuit Court.

The victim was the first to take the stand.

She explained to commonwealth attorney Michael Mann that her father kept telling her that he was right in performing oral sex on her and later having intercourse.

She said his reasoning was that all dads did it to protect their daughters.

On several occasions when she told her mother, they moved out for several days but always returned when Bennington convinced his wife that it was an uncle who committed the acts.

“I was scared,” she said of why she didn’t tell anyone else. “I thought all fathers were doing it.”

When she was 15, she became pregnant and knew it had to be her father.

“There was no one else,” she testified.

By that time, her parents had divorced but she told a judge that she wanted to stay with her father. She said it was because of fear that she didn’t tell the judge what really happened.

Suffering a heart condition, the daughter died at the age of nine months.

It wasn’t until she reached the age of 22 that she moved out.

“I couldn’t stand it no more,” she said.

If she hadn’t left, she felt she would have committed suicide.

At one time, she came forward to tell police of the problem. But she then lost her courage.

It wasn’t until March 2007 that she felt the courage to come forward with the allegations.

Under cross-examination from Jamal Wooldridge, she admitted that she had a car and a way to get away.

Her father, who she referred to as Perry, paid for college expenses and gave her a car. But she said there was always that fear that he might hurt her if she told anyone.

“I didn’t want anyone to know,” said the victim, who is now 40. “I was so ashamed. I felt it was my fault.”

Bullitt County coroner Tommy Kappel directed the infant child’s body be exhumed in April 2007 after the allegations were made about Bennington fathering a child by his own daughter.

Det. Scotty McGaha and Kappel were present when the state medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Weakley-Jones, performed the removal of bone, tissue and hair samples.

In his opening statement, Mann said that those DNA samples show that there is a 99.99 percent probability that Bennington was the father of the child.

He said the victim would tell the jury the long history of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of Bennington.

But Wooldridge said in his opening statement that the victim had opportunities to tell people and had a chance to live with her mother after the divorce.

He felt the jury may never hear the reason the victim waited 16 years before coming forward with the allegations.

And he said no one else had DNA testing taken and that it would be logical for a grandfather to have the same traits as the grandchild.

The jury will return on Wednesday morning as the trial continues.