Former Kent student pleads guilty, awaits sentencing

David Williams

A former Kent State student who sexually assaulted another student in the Centennial Court C dormitory in April of 2018 will be sentenced August 12. 

Connor Hendry pleaded guilty in April to charges of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony, and unauthorized use of property, a fifth-degree felony, as well as sexual imposition and solicitation, both third-degree misdemeanors. 

The charges carry a penalty of up to 30 months in prison, 120 days of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.

Hendry remains under house arrest per his bail and was permitted to attend religious services once a week at St. Patrick Catholic Church, take one trip a month to attend mandatory Ohio Army National Guard drill exercises and meet with his lawyers. Each trip had to be approved with a 24-hour notice. 

He was also required to undergo a sexual offender evaluation and, as part of his plea agreement, must register as a Tier 1 sex offender, which means he must register his address in a database every year for 15 years. It is the lowest level of sex offender in Ohio.

The assault was originally reported at 11:15 p.m. on April 22, 2018, according to a Kent State police report.

Hendry was indicted Jan. 28 and arraigned Feb. 4 on four felonies, including rape, sexual battery, sexual imposition and abduction, according to Portage County court records. 

He was released after his father, Joseph Hendry, posted 10 percent of his $35,000 bond. Joseph retired in 2016 as a lieutenant on the Kent State police force. 

Hendry was also brought up on charges through Kent State’s student judiciary process, but the sanctions were not enacted until August, almost four months after the incident occurred. It is unclear if Hendry was barred from campus immediately after the alleged rape was reported to the university police.

Documents obtained by KentWired from Hendry’s student conduct hearing show he was found “responsible” for the violation of sexual/gender harassment. The actual hearing date is not visible in the partially redacted document, but the sanctions placed on Hendry begin August 9, 2018, and include:

  1. Disciplinary suspension until Aug. 17, 2020. Hendry was deemed a persona non grata, meaning he cannot enter any Kent State property or facilities, including on the regional campuses. He must get special permission in advance if he wants to come on campus for any reason.

  2. Disciplinary probation until May 17, 2021. Continued or repeated violations of university policies and/or regulations may be cause for further action by the conduct court or lead to dismissal from the university. The document also states, “Better decisions are expected in the future.”

  3. Hendry is prohibited from having contact until May 17, 2021, with a person whose name is redacted from the document but is presumably the victim. This includes “direct contact and all forms of communication, including but not limited to email, social networking sites, phone, Instant Messaging, and any contact through third parties.” Any contact by Hendry that is considered harassing could be construed as retaliatory and could lead to further accusations in the judiciary and/or lead to criminal charges.

  4. Hendry’s Kent State registration file is on an “ineligible hold” until he provides documentation 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.

Hendry, who was listed as a senior criminology and justice studies major in the university directory, attended Kent State between Fall 2014 and Summer 2018. Hendry was also employed by the university as a security aide on campus but was not on duty when the incident occurred. It is unknown what happened to Hendry’s status as a security aide following the incident.

Following Hendry’s indictment, KentWired made multiple requests for the police incident report filled out by the responding officers and received what appears to be the dispatcher log record instead. It states only that the incident occurred April 22 at 11:15 p.m. in Centennial C dormitory and that it was a sexual offense.

A follow-up email from Nichole DeCaprio, associate counsel in the university’s General Counsel Office, said, “There are no records specifically responsive to your request below. I have attached the incident report. The case report is considered investigatory work product under ORC 149.43(A)(1)(h) & (A)(2), and will not be released at this time.”

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled repeatedly that incident and offense reports, and underlying statements and interviews, are not confidential investigatory records because they initiate an investigation and are not part of an investigation itself.

KentWired also made multiple requests for the investigatory file related to the assault; Tricia Knoles, the community resource officer for the Kent State University Police Department, said the file will be released as soon as the case is officially closed by the court, which is anticipated to be Aug. 12 when Hendry is sentenced. 

Neither the prosecutor nor Hendry’s lawyers could be reached for comment. In an email, Kent State Director of Media Relations Eric Mansfield said, “We would have nothing to add.”

David Williams is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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