Former officer Erich Fritz sentenced to a year in jail, 5 years probation

Erich Fritz.PNG

Former Covert Township police officer Erich Fritz was sentenced today to spend a year in the county jail and then five years on probation.

Newschannel 3 was in the courtroom as he was led away in handcuffs after the sentence was handed down.

Fritz was originally charged with rape and kidnapping, after pulling over a man and woman for drunken driving in July 2016.

Michigan State Police said Fritz took the man to jail, but drove the woman to a hotel where they had sex.

Fritz admitted to having sex with the woman, and his attorney said it was consensual.

The woman, and police said it was rape.

In June, Fritz accepted a plea deal, and was convicted on a charge of unlawful imprisonment.

Speaking in court today, Fritz apologized to his fellow officers, his family, the community and the victim.

The judge had some harsh words for him.

"Rarely has this court encountered a more despicable turn of events than the one you orchestrated on July 9th, 2016, Van Buren County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Brickley said. "You preyed upon and exploited and damaged a woman. A woman who was entirely helpless due to excessive intoxication."

The woman also addressed the court as part of the sentence. Wiping tears from her eyes, she described the pain she's been through over the past year.

"As a police officer who took an oath to protect and serve the community, what you did to me was wrong,” she said. “You raped me. You knew I was highly intoxicated yet you used that as a selfish opportunity."

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