MENOMINEE — A former Menominee County deputy has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to accost a minor for immoral purposes.
Brian W. Helfert, 57, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct — third degree in January. However, both these charges have been dropped in accordance with a plea agreement Helfert and his attorney Trent Stupak had made with the Menominee County Prosecuting Attorney's office.
Instead, Helfert entered a guilty plea Friday to an amended charge of an attempting to accost someone under 16-years-old for immoral purposes, which is a high-class misdemeanor.
Attempted accosting has a maximum penalty of two years in jail. A person found guilty must be registered as a sex offender.
However, Helfert's plea agreement states that he cannot be sentenced more than 0 to 6 months in County Jail; and if the court sentences Helfert to a greater charge, the plea agreement would be revoked. In that case, Helfert's case would move to a jury trial, and the plea agreement would be removed from the record and cannot be used against him.
The agreement was signed by Menominee County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey T. Rogg and Stupak.
Rogg was not at Helfert's re-arraignment Friday, and Menominee County was represented by Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Karafa.
"If the court will not follow the above sentencing range, as determined by the Michigan guidelines, the defendant will be allowed to withdraw his plea and pursue to a jury trial, with the defendant's plea being suppressed," Stupak read the agreement out loud. "This is intended to be a binding plea and sentencing agreement."
Helfert said he fully understood the agreement and any rights he would be giving up when he pleads guilty now.
"I wish to plead guilty, your honor," Helfert said.
"I have made statements to (a 15-year-old boy) referencing the use of rectal thermometers and performing enemas, at the time I made these statements to (the boy) he was 15-years-old," Helfert said. "These statements were intended to be attempted solicitation on how he could repay me for money I had loaned him.
"These statements were inappropriate and I should have used better judgment," he continued. "I admit those comments made to a 15-year-old would entice or encourage that minor to engage in an act of gross indecency or an immoral act."
Upon his conviction, Helfert must also be registered as a sex offender for 25 years.
Helfert's bond was set for $5,000 Jan. 6, which he posted at the time. He remains on bond pending sentencing and/or violation of the terms of his bond.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
41st Circuit Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya presided over the re-arraignment Friday, which was streamed live on Youtube.