Kansas City, Mo. A former Johnson County, Kan., probation officer who admitted that he groped and tried to solicit sex from female probationers has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Randall Nester, 37, pleaded guilty in January to four counts of sexual misconduct and one of acceding to corruption by a public servant.
On Thursday, he was ordered to serve 30 months in a Missouri prison for what Jackson County Circuit Judge Edith L. Messina described as taking advantage of "incredibly vulnerable" victims.
In addition to the 30-month sentence, Messina sentenced Nester to one year in the Jackson County Jail on each of the sexual misconduct charges, with the sentences to be served concurrently.
The judge told Nester that instead of protecting the public's trust, he threatened his clients with jail time if they didn't comply with his wishes.
"If that's not abuse of authority, I don't know what is," Messina said. "I don't know what message you were sending to those women, but their lives are no less important than anyone else's."
Two of his four victims told the judge that Nester had taken away their trust of men and that he should do jail time.
Nester's attorneys argued that he was not at risk to re-offend and asked that he be placed on probation.
Nester, who worked for the Johnson County Department of Corrections from 1997 to 2002, when he was fired, was charged in January 2003 after one woman came forward and reported that he had touched her inappropriately.
Other women followed with stories that they had been groped and that Nester had made sexual advances toward them dating back to 2001.
Johnson County authorities released one of his victims from jail after they learned her probation had been revoked on a recommendation by Nester.
The Johnson County Department of Corrections has an office in Kansas City, Mo., where some of the incidents took place. Other claims arose from visits Nester made to probationers at their homes in Kansas City and Independence.