A judge sent a rural Webb City man to prison for 10 years Monday on a conviction for repeated molestation of a girl over a four-year period beginning when she was 10 years old.

Circuit Judge Dean Dankelson assessed Gregory W. Kennebeck the prison term at a sentencing hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Kennebeck, 50, pleaded guilty Oct. 7 to first-degree child molestation in a plea agreement dismissing two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy and single counts of sexual misconduct with a child under 15 years old and tampering with a witness in a felony prosecution.

Kennebeck was charged with the four counts of sexual offenses in February 2018 after an investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff's Department. The tampering with a witness count was added in 2019 when authorities say he tried to get the girl to drop her allegations.

The girl had disclosed in a forensic interview in 2018 that Kennebeck began molesting her in April 2012 when she was in the fifth grade and continued doing so for four years, according to a probable-cause affidavit. She told investigators he often would have her sit on a couch next to him with a blanket over them and he would touch her inappropriately beneath the blanket.

The defendant was facing up to 15 years on the molestation count and the possibility of even lengthier terms had he been convicted of the statutory sodomy counts.

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