MENOMINEE—A former Menominee County Sheriff’s deputy stood mute and formally waived his arraignment in writing Monday as Menominee County Circuit Judge Mary B. Barglind entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges relating to sexual assaults of a teen-age boy.
Brian Helfert, 57, Menominee, appeared via zoom from the Ontonagon (Michigan) County Jail, where he has been housed since being convicted of a misdemeanor sex charge involving a different teen-aged male. The arraignment Monday took place in District Courtroom 95-A.
The defendant was bound over for trial on May 24 by District Judge Robert Jamo.
Helfert faces the following 16 felony charges:
• Child sexual abuse activity.
• Eight counts of criminal sexual conduct—first degree. The maximum penalty for each of these counts is life in prison.
• Three counts of criminal sexual conduct—second degree.
• Three counts of criminal sexual conduct—third degree.
• Gross indecency between males.
There also is an enhancer to the charges that categorizes Helfert as a sexually delinquent person.
Helfert’s arraignment Monday lasted less than two minutes. He stood mute through his attorney, Trenton Stupak of Escanaba.
Both Stupak and Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey T. Rogg wanted to address the defendant’s bond issue and the court requested that formal motions be filed and a court hearing would be scheduled on that matter. Helfert is being held on a $250,000 cash/surety bond. The defense wants it lowered and Rogg wants it raised.
At last month’s preliminary hearing, the court heard from two witnesses—a 23-year-old man who said he was in a sexually abusive relationship with Helfert for about six years and the man’s mother. The EagleHerald does not print the names of possible sexual assault victims without their consent.
The alleged victim—who had aspirations of becoming a police officer—told how the former deputy allegedly groped him in his squad car during “ride alongs” while out in the county and on a police boat, just off shore during the city’s Waterfront Festival and how Helfert and he allegedly had sexual relations dozens, if not hundreds, of times in a spare bedroom of Helfert’s Menominee home.
Helfert is due back in court at 9:30 a.m. July 2 for a pretrial conference.