A Conway businessman was ordered to serve 10 years on felony probation and pay a $5,000 fine after admitting to sexually assaulting an underage employee.
Gentry Dewayne Brown, 39, was charged with second-degree sexual assault after he told a 17-year-old employee he would give him a ride home but instead took the teen to his house and “engaged in unwanted sexual behavior” with the teen, court documents state. Brown is the owner of Gentry’s Press & Wash, a laundromat and dry cleaning service located on Clayton Street in Conway.
The business owner was sentenced to 10 years of felony probation Monday afternoon after pleading guilty to the sexual assault allegations against him.
Deputy prosecutor Jacob Franklin had requested that Brown, who had pleaded guilty to a Class B felony, be sentenced to 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections due to the predatory nature of the offense and the impact the incident had on the victim. The punishment range for a Class B felony includes a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Circuit Judge Troy Braswell Jr. instead ordered the Conway man to serve 120 days in the Faulkner County Detention Center, with three days credited for time he spent behind bars upon his February 2019 arrest.
Brown must register as a sex offender and pay another $940 in other court costs and fees. The Conway man cannot have anyone under the age of 18 at his home unless they are a family member, according to a court order.
The case against Brown stems from an incident that occurred Dec. 12, 2018.
Brown had offered to give the 17-year-old victim a ride home from work on the day in question. The teen told police following the incident this was not out of the ordinary, adding he had received a ride home from work at least four times in the past. However, on Dec. 12, 2018, Brown took the teen to his home and said he wanted to eat before taking the 17-year-old home.
This struck the teen as odd, because “he did not usually go to Brown’s house after work and thought he was just taking him home,” according to the felony probable cause affidavit filed against the Conway man.
The teen later told officer Kelton Smith that he “began feeling very uncomfortable from the way Brown was looking at him” immediately after arriving at his boss’s Fourth Avenue apartment. At one point, he asked to go to the restroom because “he was getting scared,” according to the victim’s statement.
While in the bathroom at Brown’s house, the teen told police that his boss walked into the restroom and began staring at him. After staring at the teen, Brown made a comment about being “gay” before trying to inappropriately grab the teen’s genitalia, according to the affidavit.
Brown also pulled his own pants down before trying to coax the teen into his bedroom before the juvenile fled his apartment.
According to a report by Sgt. Jeremy Holliman, the teen could not call for help because his phone was disconnected at the time.
The teen was “visibly upset” following the incident and also reported seeing Brown “making blocks” and looking for him as he ran home, Holliman noted in is report.
The teen’s father confronted Brown over the phone about the incident as soon as he found out about what happened. At some point, the teen’s boss showed up at their home and acted as if he was about to hit the victim’s father.
According to court documents, Brown “lifted his hand as if he were going to hit” the teen’s father when the teen’s dad proceeded to punch him in the face.
As of press time Friday, Brown was behind bars at the FCDC serving his 120-day sentence.