Sheriff’s deputy pleads no contest in case involving sex with inmate; must register as sex offender
photo by: Dylan Lysen
A former Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy accused of sexual relations with a female inmate was convicted of aggravated battery on Wednesday after he accepted a plea deal.
Mario J. Godinez entered a no contest plea to the felony charge as part of a deal with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, which dropped his original charge of unlawful sexual relations.
Branden Smith, a pro tem judge who presided over the case for Judge Sally Pokorny, said that because the crime was “sexually motivated,” Godinez was required to immediately register as a sex offender and to do so for 15 years. Godinez is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. May 10.
Godinez, 47, was charged in September with engaging in “consensual” sexual activity with a female inmate at the Douglas County Jail. At that time, the 30-year-old woman was serving consecutive jail sentences for a municipal case and two Douglas County District Court cases, according to the Journal-World’s review of those case files.
Godinez was in charge of the work-release program for inmates. An affidavit revealed that the woman met with Godinez in his office and was temporarily released from the jail under the guise of the program, even though she was never granted work-release privileges by a judge.
Sex acts occurred in Godinez’s office, as well as outside the jail, according to the arrest affidavit in the case. The deputy and inmate told investigators that the inmate was fitted with an ankle bracelet and rode a city bus from jail to a convenience store, where Godinez picked her up in his personal vehicle. More sex acts occurred in the car, while driving and while parked at the fairgrounds.
The two reportedly also exchanged texts, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit does not name who outfitted the woman with the ankle bracelet or who approved her release from the jail.
As a result of Godinez’s charges, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said it would review its protocol for the work-release program.
Godinez resigned from the sheriff’s office in April 2018, before the criminal charges were filed.
photo by: Sara Shepherd
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