Former corrections officer gets probation for assault

Louisville, KY - By Jon Chrisos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A former Metro Corrections officer accused of sexually abusing a female inmate won't be going to jail. Instead, James Mikesell, 38, will be on probation for the next two years.

"He came into my room twice in one night. I was in a single cell," his victim told us. Because she's a victim of sexual abuse, we aren't using her name, but we are sharing her story.

"If I would have said, 'No get away from me,' I still would have been punished in some sort," she said.

Mikesell was a Metro Corrections officer at the time of the incident in February. He was charged with two misdemeanors: sexual abuse and official misconduct. At first he pleaded not guilty to those charges, but changed his plea Wednesday so he could accept a deal offered by the state.

Mikesell's lawyer, Steve Schroering, says his client just wanted to put the whole thing behind him.

"He maintains his innocence as he has throughout," At this point, he wanted to avoid the risk of a trial and a felony offense and move on with his life," Schroering said.

A felony charge of tampering with physical evidence was dismissed.

Mikesell will be on probation for two years but won't spend time behind the bars where he once worked.

"Unfortunately we're in a situation where very few offenders, misdemeanor, first time offenders, are being incarcerated for anything," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kristi Gray."

"I don't think that's right," said the victim. "If it were an average person, like one of these gentleman behind you, they would have probably gotten jail or prison time."

A new law is now on the books. Kentucky corrections officers will face felony charges for having sex with prisoners. Because that law wasn't signed until this spring, it did not apply to Mikesell.

In signing the law in April, Governor Steve Beshear said there's no such thing as consenting adults when it comes to the relationship between a corrections officer and an inmate.

"The inherent power disparity between correctional officers and inmates precludes there from ever being a consensual sexual relationship between the two," Beshear said.

Mikesell is no longer a metro corrections officer. His plea deal requires him to not work in law enforcement or have any contact with the woman.

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