Former Ellis County fireman avoids jail in sex assault of colleague; deal called ‘terrible message’

Naheed Rajwani, Staff writer / Dallas Morning News / November 10, 2016

A former Ellis County fireman pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in the sexual assault of a male colleague at a firehouse last year.

But advocates for sexual assault victims say the plea deal, which proposed that he get two years’ probation and that charges for seven other suspects be dropped, is unusual and unsettling.

“We look toward firefighters, even if they’re volunteer firefighters, as heroes and people who really help us in need,” said Bobbie Villareal, a former Dallas County prosecutor and former head of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. “And for them to victimize a colleague like that is extremely disturbing.”

She said she believes that the deal is outrageous and would send a “terrible message.”

Keith Edward Wisakowsky originally faced felony sex assault charges in the case, which generated local and national headlines.

Under the deal, Wisakowsky plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in exchange for two years’ probation. Charges against four other firemen accused of participating in the assault, a woman accused of filming it and the two fire chiefs accused of an attempted cover-up will be dropped as part of the deal.

Toby Shook, Wisakowsky’s attorney, said he didn’t find the plea offer surprising based on what he knew of the case.

He said it appeared that prosecutors offered the deal “based on the totality of the facts and what they knew of their victim and his credibility.” He didn’t elaborate.

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