Ex-officer convicted in rape case

September 19, 2008 1:06:20 PM PDT
A judge on Friday convicted a former Georgetown police officer accused of raping a drunk woman after responding to a domestic disturbance call. Jimmy Lewis Fennell Jr., 35, pleaded guilty in May to kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a person in custody, but state District Judge Burt Carnes later rejected a deal that recommended a two-year prison term, 10 years of probation and a fine.

During Friday's hearing, Fennell waived his right to a jury trial and decided not to withdraw his guilty plea, the Austin American-Statesman reported in its online edition. Carnes convicted Fennell on the two charges and set sentencing for Sept. 26.

Fennell faces up to 10 years in prison for the kidnapping charge and up to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine for the improper sexual activity charge. The judge will decide on punishment after reading a pre-sentencing report that contains evidence from the case.

In October, Fennell and another officer responded to a disturbance in which a woman and her boyfriend were fighting. Fennell was accused of driving the intoxicated woman from her home to a secluded area, making her dance for him and then sexually assaulting her, according to court documents.

Fennell was fired Dec. 20 but reinstated and placed on paid administrative leave two weeks later. A week after that, he resigned.

Before pleading guilty, Fennell was charged with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, improper sexual activity with a person in custody and official oppression. Those sentences could have exceeded two 99-year terms if he had been convicted by a jury.

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