Former Marked Tree Coach, Dean of Students Gets 8 Years on Federal Sex Charge

MAY 10, 2005 - Posted at 7:53 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A former Marked Tree baseball coach and dean of students is to serve eight years in prison for a federal conviction on charges of taking a male student across state lines and having sexual contact.

Robert Lynn Jennings, 48, is to report to prison on June 13.

Jennings on Monday accepted a plea agreement before U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson in Little Rock.

Jennings pleaded guilty in February to the federal charges, but has pleaded innocent in a state case in which he is charged with two counts of rape, one count of first degree violation of a minor and 20 counts of second-degree violation of a minor.  The state charges are pending.

The father of the victim in the federal case said he was proud his son came forward to stop the abuse.  But the father said witnessing the sentencing did not end his family's pain.

Sentencing guidelines in the federal case had called for a two to two-and-a-half year sentence.  Judge Wilson said he approved the longer sentence because it was agreed to by both prosecutors and Jennings.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)