Man to Face Trial for Child Rape
After Fleeing to S.C., Police Say Gentry Tried to Fake His Own Death
By Jeff Farrell
The Mountain Press
August 10, 2006
Sevierville - A man who allegedly fled the state and tried to fake his own death after being charged with rape of a child and statutory rape could face his first trial Oct. 5.
Kevin Allen Gentry fled the state in 2004 after he was charged with three counts of statutory rape, and before a grand jury returned a sealed indictment charging him with rape of a child.
U.S. Marshals arrested Gentry in Bennetsville, S.C., last year, but not before he tried to fake his own death by leaving a recorded message in a car by the sea saying that he had decided to drown himself. Authorities here charged him with failure to appear in court after he didn't come to a scheduled hearing months after that message was found.
He was in court Tuesday for several hearings related to the charges.
Judge Richard Vance reluctantly agreed that he would have to review the possible relevance of sexual behavior of Gentry's alleged 9-year-old victim.
The state's rules of evidence include a stipulation that sexual behavior by an alleged rape victim can be brought up in a rape case "to prove or explain the source of semen, injury, disease, or knowledge of sexual matters."
He said they needed to determine whether the alleged victim had prior knowledge of sex, because the jury might believe any knowledge she had of sexual matters at such a young age must be related to the alleged incident.
Vance noted the rule was "poorly constructed," since it is meant to shield victims from testimony about their own sexual behavior outside the alleged incident.
Defense attorney Brent Horst said he'd been involved in several cases involving allegations of sex with minors, and that he believed the same logic could apply to Gentry's alleged teenaged victims from the statutory rape charges as well.
"Our society is not wanting to believe how sexually active our teenagers are," he said.
Also Tuesday, Vance ruled that the prosecution can't mention claims Gentry allegedly made about being a Satanic priest unless they directly relate to the crime.
Vance also heard arguments about the possibility of severing one of the three statutory rape charges from the other two.
The trial for the charge of rape of a child will take place first because it is the most serious, Vance said.
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