MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) — On Friday, the Menominee County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey T. Rogg announced that a longtime deputy with the Menominee County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) has been convicted and sentenced for accosting a child.
57-year-old Brian William Helfert of Menominee, Mich. was sentenced to five years of probation and six months in jail for the attempted accosting for immoral purposes of a then 15-year-old Menominee, Mich. boy. The sentence was handed down on December 4, 2020, by the Honorable Christopher S. Ninomiya in the 41st Circuit Court.
Helfert was assigned to provide services to the Menominee Area Public Schools (MAPS), in the capacity of a Menominee County School Liaison Deputy when he was employed with MCSD. Helfert pled guilty on October 9, 2020, to a single count of Attempted Accosting for Immortal Purposes.
The criminal activity occurred over an extended period of time from 2016-2019, and culminated with a report to the Menominee Police Department in November of 2019, of sexual assault. Menominee Police Department (MPD) Detective Sergeants Jason McGhee and Darrin Kudwa were assigned to investigate the case.
Rogg commended the MPD for its “zealous investigation of a fellow law enforcement professional,” stating that “Mr. Helfert has disgraced his uniform and his behavior reflects a ‘betrayal of the badge’ that has shocked our community. I sincerely appreciate the professionalism and diligence with with Detectives McGhee and Kudwa approached this difficult assignment,” said Rogg. “Because of their efforts, some semblance of justice was obtained for this young victim, and a predator was removed from the ranks of our otherwise exemplary law enforcement officers of Menominee,” he continued.
Judge Ninomiya told Helfert during his sentencing that Helfert “turned into a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and that he had “tarnished and disgraced your profession.” Judge Ninomiya summed up Helfert’s behavior by finding that Helfert is a “serial predator, plain and simple.”
“A public finding of guilt was the most important consideration for the victim and his family, along with lifetime SORA registration,” stated Rogg, who told the court that he had consulted extensively with them prior to the plea and sentence and that they approved of it. “I also agree with Judge Ninomiya’s heartfelt comments at the sentencing that the criminal justice system has, to a degree, let the victim down,” Rogg continued, alluding to the victim’s reluctance to endure a public jury trial, after being forced to relive the incidents twice already by reporting them to police and during his length testimony at the district court preliminary examination.
The investigation revealed that the victim’s relationship with Helfert’s was established during his enrollment as a student as MAPS, and Helfert’s assignment by the Menominee County Probate Court to function as a “mentor” to him.
“I commend the tremendous courage exhibited by the young man during the period of his victimization at the hands of a person he trusted and looked up to as a role model,” said Rogg. “Because of this victim’s bravery and determination, another victim has come forward to report similar allegations against Mr. Helfert,” said Rogg, who invited other potential victims to come forward, saying that “every allegation against Mr. Helfert will be fully investigated by the MPD and can still be prosecuted by me.”
Helfert will serve his sentence in the Ontonagon County Jail.