Connor Hendry

Connor Hendry, former KSU student, turns and apologizes to the victim while reading his statement during his sentencing hearing on Aug. 26, 2019. 

Hendry was released early from jail after pleading guilty to charges related to the sexual assault of a Kent State student in the Centennial C dormitory in April 2018.  Hendry’s attorneys filed a request that he be granted work release from the Portage County Jail—it said he would work for Over Easy Morning Cafe and Laziza Restaurant, but the work release was denied.

According to court documents from Hendry’s sentencing hearing, the terms of Hendry’s early release include a requirement he attain full-time employment within a 9-month period.  There is no information in the court record that indicates where or if Hendry is currently working.

Editor’s note: David Williams, Lydia Taylor and Brandon Bounds contributed to this report. KentWired.com does not typically identify victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Former Kent State student Connor Hendry was released early after serving 111 days of his original 180-day sentence for sexually assaulting a fellow student in the Centennial C dormitory in April 2018. 

Hendry’s request for early release, filed by one of his attorneys on Nov. 25, 2019, was granted by Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman. Hendry began his sentence Sept. 5 and was released Dec. 25, 2019. He was ordered to report to adult probation the following day. 

According to Portage County court records, all of Hendry’s court expenses were paid by his father, Joseph Hendry, a retired lieutenant of the Kent State University police force, before his release.  

Hendry is required to check in with the adult probation department daily and will still complete five years of probation, which was part of his original sentence, according to court records.  

According to court records, the request for Hendry’s early release was supported by positive comments from Chief Deputy Dale Kelly and Julie Piccione, a volunteer from the Center of Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides food for people in need. Kelly said in the documents Hendry was “a polite inmate” and “[got] along well with both staff and other inmates.” 

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said his office and the victim believe “the original sentence was more than fair” and opposed the motion for early release. The victim sent a letter of opposition to the court, which was presented on the day of the hearing.  

Hendry was also given trustee status in jail, which means he volunteered for what’s known as the Inmate Work Program. In the past, trustees volunteered at the Center of Hope during Thanksgiving and the Christmas season and spent time at local senior centers and food pantries. Other inmate activities have included trash pick up on local roadways. 

Prior to this decision, Hendry’s attorneys filed Oct. 10 and requested a hearing for a work release from the county jail. This request would have allowed Hendry to work at Laziza Restaurant and Over Easy Morning Cafe, including the time required to travel to and from the stores, while he was serving his sentence. Pittman denied the request on Nov. 18. 

The terms of the early release, according to court documents, state Hendry must attain full-time employment within a 9-month period. The court documents do not contain any information on whether he is currently employed.

Details of the night 

KentWired requested the investigatory file created by Kent State University Police in September 2019 and received it on Nov. 5, 2019. The report KentWired received was dated Sept. 30, 2019. 

According to the investigatory file, the Kent State student who Hendry assaulted attended a party at a fraternity house that night, which is where she ran into Hendry. The two knew each other from working as security aides for the university. Hendry told her that he was drunk, but she didn’t think he looked intoxicated. 

The woman, Hendry and a couple of friends left the party. The group split up near campus. Hendry received a phone call from his girlfriend, so the woman and Hendry headed to his apartment, where she heard Hendry argue with his girlfriend before leaving.  

According to the police records, on the way to her dorm Hendry asked if they would ever kiss and tried to hold the victim’s hand multiple times; she repeatedly refused to hold his hand. 

When they reached her dorm around 2:15 a.m., Hendry asked if they could talk about the fight with his girlfriend and the woman agreed. 

While in her room, the woman texted her roommate and said she was uncomfortable Hendry was there and wanted him to leave. Hendry began aggressively kissing her on the lips and then pinned her against the bed and sexually assaulted her with his fingers multiple times. 

The woman repeatedly yelled “Stop” and “Get off me” but Hendry did not reply. According to police records, Hendry offered her money and said “How much do I need for you to have sex with me?” The woman screamed “Get off me” to Hendry and told him to leave. 

Hendry eventually grabbed his things and while walking out asked if he should kiss her. She replied no and motioned for him to leave. 

The woman reported the assault later that day and met with a member of the Kent State police. Hendry was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 28, 2019 and arraigned on Feb. 4. 

What happens next

According to documents obtained by KentWired from Hendry’s student conduct hearing, Hendry will remain a persona non grata and will not be allowed on any Kent State property or campus until Aug. 17, 2020. He is also barred from having any contact with the woman until May 17, 2021. 

The document also states Hendry is on an “ineligible hold” until he provides documentation to the university from a licensed health care provider that he is “capable of succeeding in a collegiate environment.” It is also recommended Hendry “discuss healthy gender / sexual relationships” with the health-care provider.

According to the document, if Hendry has continued or repeated violations of university policies and/or regulations before May 17, 2021, the university could take further action in conduct court or dismiss him from the university.

He is required to register as a Tier 1 sex offender and to register his address in a database every year for 15 years. 

Hendry plead guilty in April 2019 to charges of gross sexual imposition, a fourth degree felony; unauthorized use of property, a fifth degree felony; sexual imposition and solicitation, both third-degree misdemeanors. 

The maximum penalties Hendry could have faced following his plea agreement included a maximum 30 months in prison, 120 days in jail, $8,500 in fines, in addition to any court fines and registration as a Tier 1 sex offender. 

He was originally charged with four felonies, including rape, sexual battery, sexual imposition, abduction and one misdemeanor of sexual imposition, according to court records. 

Contact Rachel Karas at rkaras1@kent.edu.

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