Attorney faces more sexual battery charges

A Taylorsville attorney charged last month with sexual battery on a police officer posing as a client was charged Wednesday with eight additional counts of sexual battery involving female clients.

Vaughn Edward Jennings, 60, turned himself in at the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, Taylorsville police Sgt. Lisa Johnson said Wednesday. A magistrate released him on $10,000 unsecured bond.

Taylorsville police and the SBI started investigating Jennings after a woman filed a complaint in July, saying Jennings had sexually assaulted her in his office when she visited him for representation in a speeding ticket case. A female undercover police officer visited Jennings' Taylorsville office posing as a client, and she said Jennings assaulted her. SBI agents arrested him Aug. 12 and charged him with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery.

Since then, other women have reported similar assaults by Jennings, Johnson said. Based on those reports, investigators obtained a search warrant last week to search Jennings' office.

The search warrant gives details of the women's complaints. According to the document, several women said Jennings grabbed their breasts. The warrant also says that in a phone conversation recorded by investigators, Jennings told a woman he'd represent her if she had sex with him. He also asked the woman to bring marijuana to his house.

Johnson said some of the charges involve incidents in Jennings' office, others in a room at the Alexander courthouse.

Jennings' attorney, David Freedman, said he plans to take the case to trial and that Jennings, a former federal prosecutor, has “an excellent reputation” in state and federal courts.