SPARTA, WISCONSIN (WXOW)-- A judge sentenced a former Monroe County jailer for sexually assaulting an inmate.
According to the criminal complaint, Jerry Friedl engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman serving time in the Monroe County jail, while he was on the job as a deputy at the jail.
Friedl was sentenced to four years probation and six months in jail for one count of third-degree sexual assault.
Friedl plead no contest to the charge in July and in exchange, the other three charges of second-degree sexual assault were dismissed.
According to the prosecution, Friedl and the female inmate exchanged sexually explicit letters and had sexual contact inside the jail.
The sentence recommended to the court suggested probation, which the defense agreed with. However the prosecution asked for some jail time because of the abuse of power in the case.
Judge Mark Goodman agreed jail time was necessary to assure the public such abuses of authority and power will not be tolerated.
"If I didn't send Mr. Friedl off to jail for some amount of time, I believe the public would think he got off just because he was a member of law enforcement," Goodman said at the sentencing. "And so, I think in order for the public to maintain it's confidence in our sheriff's department and law enforcement in general, and because I do believe there needs to be an element of punishment within the probation sentence I'm about to hand out, I have to send him to jail."
Special prosecutor, Karie Cattanach, says she is satisfied with the sentence.
"When you're dealing with the power differences between the inmate and the deputy, it's just egregious," Cattanach said. "And to emphasize to everyone that whether you're an inmate or a citizen on the street you deserve justice."
Friedl's attorney Jordan Loeb says he doesn't believe jail time was necessary and says he's disappointed with the sentence.
"My impression sitting in court today, that the judge wanted to make a statement to the public, as I argued I don't' think that statement was necessary," Loeb said. "The conviction says it all. Certainly it's a strong message to other law enforcement and that's really who this sentence is speaking to."
As part of his sentence, Friedl will also have to register as a sex offender and under go counseling.
The Monroe County Sheriff was in court and told the judge it will be safest for Friedl to serve his jail time in a different county jail. The sheriff says he's been in contact with Juneau County.
Friedl has 20 days to appeal the sentence. The judge ordered Friedl to surrender to jail by December 26.
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