Tenney gets 10 years for sex abuse

BUCKHANNON – A Rock Cave man was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison Monday for sexually abusing his 15-year-old stepdaughter.

Upshur County Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall sentenced Margel Tenney, 58, who pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse by a parent or custodian.

Tenney asked the court to be merciful – not for him, but for his family.

Hall was presented a pre-sentence investigation and a sex offender review of Tenney, but Tenney’s attorney, Jerry Blair, asked that statements contained in the information about other alleged victims not be considered during sentencing

“I have received the report and the sex offender review,” Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Jake Reger said. “I didn’t think it was very favorable for a treatment program.”

Reger explained the victim was Tenney’s step-daughter, who was under the age of 16 and became pregnant through the sexual abuse.

Reger said Tenney then convinced his son to marry the victim to try to hide the truth of the situation.

“DNA testing shows he is the father,” Reger said. “He left the area with the step-daughter and an Amber Alert was issued. The state does not believe he is a good candidate for probation or an alternative sentence.”

Blair argued the first page of the review states Tenney is a candidate for a treatment program, but a program has yet to be found for Tenney.

“We believe the court’s options are limited,” Blair said.

Hall said if a program is found, Blair can ask for another hearing. Hall also gave Tenney the opportunity to speak during the hearing.

“I am not very good at speeches No one wants to go to jail for a crime,” Tenney said. “When I found out I was the child’s father, I was lost. I am not asking for mercy on me. I ask for mercy for my family sitting here today. I am ashamed for what I have done.”

Hall said the report didn’t diagnose Tenney as a pedophile, but someone who seeks women with children he can molest.

“I fail to believe that it just happened once,” Hall said. “The whole thing is pretty lousy.”

In sentencing Tenney, Hall said, “If you have sex with your step-daughter, this is what you are going to get.”

Hall denied a request for an alternative sentence. He also ordered that if Tenney is released from prison he will be placed on 20 years of supervised release.

Tenney was indicted in 2013 on charges of three felony counts of third-degree sexual assault, six felony counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian, and three felony counts of incest. Tenney entered a plea agreement, pleading guilty to one count of sexual abuse by a parent or custodian, while the other charges were dismissed.

Also in Upshur County Circuit Court Monday:

A sentencing for David R. Lower was continued. Defense attorney James Hawkins said his client has been diagnosed with cancer and has been placed on hospice care. Hall issued the continuance until the court receives news about Lower’s medical condition.

James Ryan Riley appeared with his attorney, Tom Dyer, to be sentenced on two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and first offense DUI.

Hall said the case had been continued several times and that a pre-sentence investigation has shown Riley has made progress.

“When this case first started, I didn’t think Mr. Riley would accomplish what he has,” Reger told the court.

Riley has tested clean in all drug tests since March and is participating in the Community Corrections program. Reger recommended home confinement as Riley’s sentence.

Hall sentenced Riley to 1-5 years in prison on each of the drug charges, 91 days for driving while license revoked and five days for the DUI charge, to run concurrently on home confinement. Riley will also have to pay a $100 fine for the DUI charge. The court also ordered Riley to complete 40 hours of community service.

A sentencing for Timothy Jospeh Baxa was continued until Sept. 10. He is facing sentencing for delivery of a controlled substance.

Lloyd Nicholson, 29, appeared with attorney Cody Clevenger and entered a guilty plea for failure to provide notice of change in the sex offender registry. Sentencing was set for Sept. 10.