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Three face separate sex crime charges

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By Damon Lawrence

Brian Lee Bruno, a 21-year-old Knoxville man, is charged with two counts of statutory rape in Roane County Criminal Court.

Statutory rape is a Class E felony, which is the lowest on the felony scale in Tennessee. Bruno was indicted by the grand jury on June 17. He turned himself in the next day, according to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office.

The alleged crimes occurred between May 1, 2012 and June 1, 2012. The indictment said the alleged victim was four years younger than Bruno at the time.

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Mitch Pennington, a 32-year-old Philadelphia, Tenn., man, is facing a sexual battery charge. He was arrested on June 20, a few days after the grand jury returned the indictment against him.

The indictment said the alleged crime occurred on June 1, 2013.

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Rockwood police charged Darrell Benford Griffin with violating the sex offender registry on June 11.

The arrest warrant said Griffin had been staying at the Budget Motel on South Gateway Avenue, and didn’t notify the city police as required.

According to the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry, Griffin has a conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor.

“Mr. Griffin resided at the Budget Motel room 127 for 10 days and failed to register with myself (Detective Dwayne Gray) at the Rockwood Police Department,” the warrant said.

Griffin is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 18.