Ex-officer gets 10 years in sex case

September 26, 2008 4:27:25 PM PDT
A former Georgetown police officer was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and improper sexual activity with a drunk woman in custody. Former Georgetown Police Sgt. Jimmy Lewis Fennell Jr., 35, showed little emotion as state District Judge Burt Carnes handed down the sentence.

Fennell pleaded guilty in May to the charges. They stem from an October 2007 incident in which Fennell responded to a domestic disturbance call at a woman's home. According to court documents, he forced the woman to come with him to his patrol car, dance for him and have sex with him.

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said despite what he called a flawed investigation by the Georgetown Police Department, he was satisfied with the case.

"I think this case shows that officers are not above the law in Williamson County and they do not get treated differently from other offenders," Bradley said in a story in the Austin American-Statesman.

Bob Phillips, Fennell's attorney, said his client chose not to say anything for the duration of the case because of a pending federal lawsuit against Fennell and the Georgetown Police Department.

"My client made some horrible and inexcusable mistakes," Phillips said during closing arguments.

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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