Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – Citing the difficulty of trying a sexual assault case without cooperation from the victim, Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship Monday agreed to reduce charges against Andrew Tribbett. Tribbett, 27, had been arrested in December after allegedly raping his pregnant girlfriend in what investigators said was an attempt to abort the fetus.
On Monday, Tribbett plead guilty to an amended count of sexual miscoundct and one count of assault.
“None of us are happy with [the agreement], but we’ve agreed to plead it down to at least have something on record” said Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship. “We have lost complete control of [the victim]. She has left our jurisdiction. We have written her letters and she won’t respond.”
The Commonwealth Attorney’s office had been unsuccessful in trying to contact the victim. Blankenship said he suspected it was due to the victim being pregnant with Tribbett’s child and their relationship.
Tribbett had been facing first degree rape charges, along with assault, unlawful imprisonment and attempted fetal homicide.
The investigation began when the Kentucky State Police were dispatched to Marshall County Hospital Dec. 10 following statements made by a female claiming she had been imprisoned and sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. According to police reports, the victim stated she and Tribbett had been arguing earlier in the night. The argument escalated when they returned home, turning physical.
Investigators alleged that Tribbett choked and hit the defendant while knowing she was pregnant. They also said Tribbett used a flashlight during the encounter.
Tribbett’s attorneys said the acts were part of the couple’s consenual sexual habits.
“The Commonwealth cannot prosecute cases like this without the victim,” Blankenship said Monday.
According to the plea agreement, Tribbett will serve six months of a 12-month sentence with credit for time already served. He is also prohibited from having any unlawful conduct with the victim or child.