Former Webster County Middle School teacher Lucia C. Jenkins appeared in Federal District Court in Owensboro on May 21 to enter a guilty plea to charges of receiving and distributing child pornography.
A third charge, dealing with possession of child pornography, including at least one image that involved a "prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age" was dropped as part of the deal.
Sentencing in the case is set for August 13, 2019 in Owensboro.
The charges to which Jenkins pled guilty carry a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a combined maximum term of 40 years, with a total fine of $500,000.00. It also requires supervised release of at least five years, but gives the judge the ability to extend that supervision to a "life" sentence. As part of the deal, federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence of imprisonment of 60 months, but that decision will ultimately be up to the judge.
The deal also requires Jenkins to pay restitution to the victim, identified only as "Sarah" in court documents, in the amount of $5,000.00.
With the federal case against her settled, Jenkins will next have to deal with a Webster County Circuit Court case in which she was indicted on more than 20 drug charges involving marijuana and pills.
The case against Jenkins began on September 13, 2017 when a 25 year-old former student she was living with was found dead at her residence. Police were called to Jenkins's home where the body was proclaimed deceased by Webster County Coroner Todd Vanover.
It was later determined the deceased died from an overdose of fentanyl, an opiate-based similar to morphine used in treatment of severe pain.
During Kentucky State Trooper William Braden's search of the deceased's phone, several messages through Facebook and texts revealed he and Jenkins's relationship to be tied to drugs, the trooper testified.
Braden revealed in court that there were 11 instances discussed through the messages in which Jenkins either provided money for or a ride to drug buys in Webster County.
In court documents, it was also shown that at least one purchase was made in Evansville.
Braden obtained a search warrant for Jenkins's phone to corroborate the messages found on the first device. During the search, Braden said he discovered four images of a young girl of either eight or nine engaged in sexual acts.
Because the photos were distributed across state lines, the matter became a federal issue and Jenkins was eventually indicted in federal court.
During the course of the investigation, authorities also found ties to another former WCMS teacher and drug use. Jason A. West eventually entered a plea of guilty to two counts of complicity trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. He was granted pretrial diversion of a felony for a period of five years, ordered to surrender his teaching license and in turn agreed to testify in the drug case against Jenkins.
West was never accused of having any ties to the pornography charges.
Four other suspects with no ties to WCMS were also arrested on related drug charges.
The investigation also netted former Providence Assistant Chief of Police Alan King, who court documents say was involved in a relationship with Jenkins. According to documents, ext messages between the two revealed that he was aware of her marijuana use. No charges were ever brought against King alleging that he was aware of her other drug use or the child pornography.
King entered a guilty plea to one charge of official misconduct, for not reporting Jenkins' marijuana use, and he was sentenced to 60 days home incarceration.
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