A Lincoln judge Monday sentenced a 62-year-old former jailer to a year and a day in federal prison for sexually abusing a federal inmate while he was working at the Saline County Jail.
Monty Roesler, who now lives in Beatrice, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a ward and also will have to serve five years of supervised release.
"You held a position of great trust in this system. Correctional officers, probation officers, law enforcement officers do not touch detainees, prisoners or wards in any way in an inappropriate manner. Especially for their own sexual gratification," U.S. District Judge John Gerrard told him. "And if they do, they go to prison."
It's an abuse of power and the criminal justice system cannot and should not tolerate it, he said.
Gerrard said most correctional officers know that, but it seems once a year, in the state or federal system, the message needs to be repeated.
Roesler's attorney, Tim Noerrlinger, had argued for probation, saying while the nature of the offense was serious, Roesler had a very limited criminal record before that.
"It appears to be an isolated incident in an otherwise law-abiding life," he said.
In a grand jury indictment unsealed in February, the government said Roesler had sexual contact with an individual being held on federal charges at the Wilber jail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessie Smith said Roesler engaged in inappropriate, sexual contact multiple times with a federal inmate between Sept. 21 and Oct. 7, including one incident Oct. 7, during his nighttime rounds.
"The defendant took advantage of his position of power, his position of control and his position of influence over this victim," she said.
At the same time, Roesler was bringing in treats and other contraband to ensure her silence, which in itself is another crime.
Due to his actions, there's also a pending civil lawsuit against him, Saline County and Sheriff Alan Moore.
Filed last month in U.S. District Court in Omaha, the woman's lawyer alleged that she wasn't the only female inmate sexually abused by Roesler and that others had reported it previously.
She is seeking compensation for her pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.
Roesler's criminal sentence means he will be able to get 54 days credit for good time. He was ordered to report for his sentence Dec. 15.