Pilot who cut off transgender woman's testicles in Denver apartment pleads guilty, sentenced

Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-11 23:11:35-04

DENVER – The commercial airline pilot who cut off a transgender woman’s testicles at a Denver apartment in May has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor practicing medicine without a license charge in exchange for felony assault charges being dropped by the Denver district attorney.

James Pennington, 57, originally faced second-degree reckless assault and unauthorized practice of medicine charges, though the victim had asked that Pennington not be charged.

The plea deal between Pennington and prosecutors was reached Monday.

Per his plea agreement, he was sentenced to court supervised probation, according to Colorado court records.

Police reports suggest Pennington removed the transgender woman's testicles using an Army surgical kit inside her apartment. The procedure reportedly took 90 minutes, but the suturing failed to stop a "large amount of blood" pouring from the incision. 

Pennington was a captain for ExpressJet Airlines. ABC7 in Chicago reports that co-workers said Pennington flew for United Express and was based out of Chicago O’Hare.

He was placed on leave after his arrest, and remains on leave Tuesday, according to ABC7. But Pennington told the station that he was “planning to go back to work.”

Pennington’s attorney, Douglas Richards, told ABC7 that Pennington was “pleased that this has brought attention to the daily struggles of the transgender community.”

“It’s not every day that someone, like my client, risks their own liberty to help a stranger who is a victim of her own body,” Richards told the station.

The attorney of the woman who underwent the procedure says the woman has recovered fully and “is happy in her new body,” according to ABC7.

Practicing medicine without an authorized physician license is a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado for the first offense.