STAUNTON – As the judge went down the list of 20 convictions and announced a prison sentence for each one on Thursday, 54-year-old John W. Trent Sr. wept at the defense table as the years began to pile up.
A Stuarts Draft man was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for giving drugs to teens, as well as having sex with one of the boys.
When Augusta County Circuit Judge Victor V. Ludwig was finished, Trent’s prison term had climbed to 15 years in a case where he plied a group of Stuarts Draft boys with methamphetamine and marijuana and had sexual relations with at least one of them.
Trent was convicted in November on one count of carnal knowledge of a 13 or 14 year old, three drug possession charges and 16 counts of distributing drugs to a minor, court records show.
Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin said the drug use and sex took place in the basement of Trent’s Stuarts Draft home. “This basement in John Wilkes Trent’s house is an absolute nightmare,” Martin said.
The allegations against Trent came to light after a parent caught one of the teens with drugs, according to Martin. The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office arrested Trent in January of 2016.
Trent consented to a search of his home, where meth, pot and some pills were found. Interviewed by an investigator, Trent admitted to performing oral sex on one of the boys, Martin said. He later recanted.
Following the arrest, the sheriff’s office reported that a 13-year-old boy told authorities he was given narcotics on multiple occasions by Trent. The boy also claimed other teens masturbated in front of Trent in exchange for drugs, the sheriff’s office reported.
The boy said he met Trent in the summer of 2015 after being introduced to him by a friend.
Martin said Trent claimed he got drugs from the boys to limit their access to the illegal substances. During an interview following his convictions, Trent continued to maintain he bought drugs from the teens in an effort to keep them away from the drugs, according to a probation and parole report.
“That’s his version,” said Martin, who labeled Trent a “classic predator.”
Initially arrested on three sex charges, Trent was found guilty on just a single sex charge following what Martin described as reluctant testimony in November from some of the teens. “They were still under the influence of what Mr. Trent had been doing to them,” Martin said in court Thursday.
The prosecutor asked for a 50-year prison term. “Mr. Trent operated a house of horrors in Stuarts Draft,” Martin said.
Following the 15-year sentence, Martin said he was satisfied knowing that Trent will be behind bars until he is nearly 70 years old.