What began more than two years ago with Rick Pendland’s arrest on multiple sex-related felony charges, has ended with three misdemeanor charges and Pendland’s release with time served.
After a series of delays along the road to his trial, Ark City’s Noble “Rick” Pendland III was recently found guilty of three counts of battery as part of plea agreement with prosecutors. He received a sentence of 18 months in jail - and because he had already served 19 - Pendland was released from custody.
Cowley County attorney Chris Smith did not offer specifics as to why the charges were significantly reduced.
“The further the investigation into the case proceeded,” he said. “We realized we could not maintain the original charges.”
In 2013, an attorney for Pendland had requested a psychological evaluation of alleged victims in the case. All were minor boys and at least one had been a foster child of Pendland’s.
Smith would not say if those psychological evaluations had an affect on the state’s case.
He did say that Pendland’s conviction would have some impact. As a condition of his sentence, Pendland can no longer be a foster parent and cannot have a teacher’s license.
He had been a teacher in Ark City schools and had a background in foster care.
Pendland’s three misdemeanor convictions would also equate to a felony conviction, for the purposes of sentencing, should he ever commit and be convicted of another felony.
But the charges he was convicted of clearly paled in comparison to those for which he was originally accused.
In Sept. 2011, authorities were on the lookout for Pendland and eventually arrested him that same month on warrants charging him with well over a dozen felony-level sex crimes. His bond was set at $200,000 and he remained incarcerated until being released, on condition he be under intensive monitoring, on May 30 of last year.
He was bound over for trial in June 2012 on several sex-related charges involving five boys between 10 and 14 years of age. Pendland had entered not guilty pleas to the charges.