Domestic Violence repeat offender arrested again

Charges continue to get dropped
Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 17:27:35-04

Three. That's how many times Michael D. Pencola, 40, has been arrested for Domestic Violence related crimes this year.

The State Attorney's Office says two of those cases have been dropped because the victim's have decided not to prosecute, a pattern for Pencola since 2003.

His latest arrest was just last week for child abuse. He's accused of dragging a child around a home by her hair.

"Obviously this is an abusive person." Attorney and Co-Founder of  "Are you safe," a non-profit that provides free legal service to domestic violence victims, Jason Valkenburg said.

We uncovered 10 domestic violence related arrests since 2003. Seven cases were dismissed because the victims didn't want to prosecute. 

"Seeing all of these cases dismissed right here is not unusual." Valkenburg said. "If the victim is not willing to come forward and testify against him and say this is what happened, then the state isn't going to be able to prove its case."

In fact, the victim only came forward on three different charges. In those cases, Pencola was sent to prison twice.

"He was actually sentenced pretty harshly." Valkenburg said. "That's why victim's need to come forward. He will be punished."

Pencola has already bonded out of jail after his latest arrest. We went looking for him at two different addresses listed by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. We talked to family members at both locations who claimed not to know where he is.

Valkenburg says a history of dropped cases, like in Pencola's past, are not as uncommon as you would think. He says it's important to educate victims about available services.

"And help them get the courage to go against those abusers, then her wouldn't get away with what he's getting away with so many times." Valkenburg said.

State Attorney, Bernie McCabe, says they were not aware of Pencola's large file. McCabe says they look at each charge on a case-by-case basis. He added that the office will be looking into Pencola's latest child abuse charge with "intense scrutiny."