Manning pleads guilty to sex offenses from 2009

Published 12:33 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kenneth Wayne Manning Sr., 59, was sentenced to 18 to 23 years in prison Tuesday for multiple sex-offense charges stemming from a 2009 investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Kenneth Wayne Manning Sr.

Manning was originally charged with one count of first-degree statutory rape, two counts of crimes against nature, two counts of first-degree statutory sex offense, one count of first-degree kidnapping, one felony count of disseminating obscene material to a minor and one count of indecent liberties with a child.

“This man needs to be put away so that no one else will have to go through what (my children) have gone through,” said the three victims’ mother in an emotional statement to Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. during Manning’s sentencing hearing.

As Assistant District Attorney Tom Anglim described the crimes for which Manning pled guilty, unlike many present, the handcuffed Manning showed no reaction.

Manning’s attorney, John K. Bramble, worked out a plea deal with the district attorney’s office — that Manning will not face charges from any additional victims was part of the plea agreement.

Bramble cited positive employment history as a mitigating factor, a requirement by the court to show reason why the judge should accept the plea deal and hand down a reduced sentence. Accepting the plea deal meant Sermons would be required to sentence from “the bottom of the mitigated sentencing range” as opposed to sentencing Manning with double life without parole, plus 74 months, that he faced. Sermons accepted the mitigating factor.

“Quite frankly, I can’t find one bit of mitigation in this case,” Sermons told the defendant, then went on to say that the only reason he would accept the plea deal was to prevent child witnesses from having to testify against Manning, thereby reliving the crimes perpetrated against them.

“If I could get back at him I would, but that would not be justice,” Anglim read from a victim’s statement during the proceeding.

The victim, a young man now, suffers from flashbacks and nightmares as a result of the abuse, read Anglim. Continuing emotional problems and panic issues have led to his current stay at a group home for sexual-abuse victims.

“(Manning) damaged a lot of young people’s lives,” said a representative of the sheriff’s office, who confirmed there were other victims besides the three, but declined to give a number.

At the time of the charges, Manning was residing on Germantown Road in Scranton, and he eluded arrest in 2009 by leaving the state. He was extradited to Beaufort County on Feb. 5, 2010, following his arrest in Huntsville, Ala., where he had been charged with driving under the influence.

Sermons declined the option of any type of supervised release for Manning.