Andrew Klepper began an 18-month sentence in Clarksburg Correctional Facility on Friday, Jan. 12. Klepper pleaded guilty to pandering, a charge that violated his probation from a 2003 sexual assault case.
Klepper, 21, was sentenced to 15 years, with all but 18 months of the sentence suspended, based in part on his previously suspended sentence in a 2003 sexual assault. Upon release he will be placed on three years of probation.
Klepper and two other Walt Whitman High School students were arrested in 2003 after an assault of an adult entertainer who said that the three boys, juveniles at the time, lured her to Klepper’s home in Potomac, detained her against her will, threatened her at knife-point, and sexually assaulted her with a baseball bat. Klepper was 15.
Klepper was sentenced in 2003 to a 15-year suspended sentence with five years of probation and 18 months of schooling at a rehabilitative boarding school after pleading guilty to fourth-degree sex offense, first-degree assault in that case, according to court documents.
In May 2006 Klepper was arrested and charged with pandering for helping to arrange a meeting between a prostitute and what turned out to be an undercover police detective. That violated his probation and triggered the original sentence.
Defense experts testified that Klepper's emotional growth was stunted during a bitter divorce between his parents, but that Klepper is not a violent person by nature.
"One sadistic adolescent act doesn't mean there is a pattern of sadism if it is not a continued pattern," said Dr. Glen Miller.
Since his most recent arrest Klepper has lived with his father, from whom he was estranged during his adolescence, said defense attorney Paul F. Kemp. Miller evaluated Klepper in the wake of the divorce and again after his most recent arrest and concluded that Klepper's interaction with his father has helped him to develop emotionally. He has also been in therapy every week with a psychiatrist.
Deborah Armstrong, the prosecuting attorney, said that despite his progress, the issue at hand was the brutality of the initial offense.
"It was a violent sexual offense for a woman that was lured to Andrew Klepper's house by Andrew Klepper," she said.
Judge John W. Debelius, in his sentencing remarks, agreed.
"I think you've had a pretty troubled life," Debelius said. "You've had some turmoil in your life [that] maybe other people don't have … [but] we all have to play the hand we've been dealt."
Debelius agreed with the expert testimony that the emotional trauma of his childhood was substantial, but sided with the prosecution that Klepper could cause harm again.
"You really have a problem with respect for women," said Debelius. "It’s one thing not to respect women, it’s another thing to take that one step further and inflict harm on them, and frankly I think you have the potential for that."