A former Kenosha County Jail correctional officer will spend six years in prison for assaulting two inmates and for misconduct in public office.
Jonathan Kwiatkowski, 30, of Kenosha, was accused of using his power as a jail guard to assault two female inmates he supervised through a work-release electronic monitoring program.
Kwiatkowski was charged in 2016 with second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault and with two counts of misconduct in public office.
As part of a plea agreement, he entered guilty pleas to one count of third-degree sexual assault and one count of misconduct in public office.
At Kwiatkowski’s sentencing hearing Monday, Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill said Kwiatkowski used his power as a jailer to victimize women, targeting inmates both because they had little recourse against his advances and because “these are women who are least likely to be believed when they make these accusations.”
One of the victims spoke in court Monday, describing how shocked she was when she began receiving text messages from Kwiatkowski and her “nausea, fear and anxiety” when she received the texts, fearing what he would do if her responses or lack of response angered him.
She was assaulted when she reported to the jail. After another guard left a room in which the woman was locked, Kwiatkowski turned off a surveillance camera.
The woman said she panicked “as I was physically trapped in this room” with the man who had been sending her sexual texts and described how she was pushed against a wall and sexually assaulted.
“He not only took advantage of my body, but my mind as well,” the woman said, saying she has been left with nightmares, depression and anxiety.
“I’m angry that I felt shame and embarrassment when he surely felt proud and powerful. ... My favorite quality in myself was my ability to see the good in people, and he has robbed me of that.”
Kwiatkowski wept when he addressed Circuit Court Judge Mary K. Wagner, saying he has learned from his mistakes.
“I am truly and genuinely sorry,” he said, stating his actions “are something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”
Defense attorney Patrick Cafferty said Kwiatkowski has already suffered consequences for his actions, saying he lost his job, his marriage and his house in the aftermath of his arrest.
Pointing out that a pre-sentencing evaluation deemed him as a low risk for re-offending, Cafferty asked that Kwiatkowski be sentenced to probation with some jail time.
Wagner wasn’t having it.
“You have betrayed, Mr. Kwiatkowski, the women you assaulted. You have betrayed the system for which I work. ... You betrayed the programs I have worked to put in place,” Wagner said.
The judge rarely raises her voice in court, but on Monday she appeared outraged. “You violated the trust that was given to you,” she said.
Wagner said, in assaulting prisoners under his control, Kwiatkowski took advantage of “the most vulnerable people in our society.”
As a judge, Wagner said, she has always told the parents of people she has sentenced into programs where they could receive treatment that they would be safe.
“You have taken that away from us,” she said.
Wagner sentenced Kwiatkowski to five years of initial confinement in prison followed by three years of extended supervision on the sexual assault charge, and one year of initial confinement and two years of extended supervision on the misconduct in public office charge, consecutive to the sexual assault charge. He will receive credit for 241 days spent in the county jail before he was able to post bail.
He was taken into custody by a deputy after sentencing.