Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Beach Man Convicted of Raping Girl; Clyde Thomas Jennings in Jail, Awaits Sentencing for Sexual Battery of Teenager

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Beach Man Convicted of Raping Girl; Clyde Thomas Jennings in Jail, Awaits Sentencing for Sexual Battery of Teenager

Article excerpt

Byline: BRYAN NOONAN, St. Augustine Record

A former information technology manager for Bank of America in Jacksonville was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl during the Fourth of July weekend last year.

Wearing a pinstriped suit and tie, Clyde Thomas Jennings, 55, of Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County, was handcuffed and escorted to the county jail Thursday, where he will await sentencing on the conviction of sexual battery on a helpless person.

The maximum sentence for the crime is 30 years, the minimum 8.67 years.

The girl Jennings was convicted of raping was a family friend. Jennings also faces charges of sexual activity with a child from another incident, according to Assistant State Attorney Cheryl McCray.

The young woman who reported the rape July 5, 2003, held hands with another woman after the jury returned to the courtroom. She smiled and burst into tears when the verdict was read.

The Florida Times-Union and St. Augustine Record do not name victims of sexual assaults without their permission.

During her testimony Thursday morning, the young woman said she once called Jennings "Uncle Clyde." She said she had vacationed with the family members several times and was friendly with them.

In the hours before she was raped, the woman said she took two or three shots of rum and had three or four mixed drinks. She had a couple of drinks later in the night when she and some friends went to a party. She said fireworks were being launched at the party, and she became nervous that neighbors were being disturbed.

Soon after, she made her way back home.

"I was pretty drunk," she said. "I wouldn't say I was plastered."

About four other people came back to her house with her. In the next hour or so, about 20 people were partying in her house. Someone said a police car had just passed the house and she became nervous. She began to cry and the party ended.

A few people were still in the house when she went into her bedroom with a friend and cried. …

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