BRIGHTON, Colo. — A former Adams County Sheriff's Office sergeant was sentenced Thursday to 75 days in jail and probation for sexually assaulting a subordinate who was trying to get in to the sheriff's office cadet academy.
After a six-day trial in January, a jury found Michael Benson, 34, guilty of sexual assault, overcoming victim's will – a Class 4 felony – and two counts of unlawful sexual contact, a Class 1 misdemeanor.
On Thursday, Adams County District Court Judge Jeffrey Smith did not sentence him to prison but rather gave him 75 days in jail – time that he will begin serving in 13 weeks, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office. He also was sentenced to probation.
In 2018, the victim worked as a civilian employee at the jail where she was supervised by Benson, who at the time was a sergeant with the Adams County Sheriff's Office.
The victim testified that between February and July of that year, Benson spent an unusual amount of time with her at work and that his conduct included dirty jokes, flirting and inappropriate comments in the workplace, according to the District Attorney's Office.
She testified that Benson's behavior became more aggressive and eventually progressed to inappropriate touching and sexual assault.
She reported that she was "desperate" to become an Adams County Sheriff’s deputy and was attempting to gain entry into the academy when the incidents occurred. The victim said for those reasons she was "fearful" that speaking out could damage her ability to become an academy cadet.
ACSO Internal Affairs eventually became aware of the incidents involving the victim and members of the IA team contacted her in September of 2018.
Benson was terminated by the Sheriff’s Office and the criminal case was investigated by the Commerce City and Brighton Sexual Assault Task Force.
This report includes previous reporting by Janet Oravetz.
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