Former Covert police officer sentenced after guilty plea

Former Covert police officer sentenced after guilty plea

PAW PAW, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A former Covert police officer accused of raping a woman following a traffic stop will spend the next year in jail.

We were in court as the victim addressed Erich Fritz.

"I don't remember leaving the bar that night," she said. "You raped me. You knew I was highly intoxicated, yet you used that as a selfish opportunity."

Through tears, the alleged victim addressed former Covert officer Erich Fritz about her life now, one year later.

"I can't see a police vehicle without feeling fear or being reminded of what happened," she said.

According to police, on July 9, 2016, Fritz pulled over a man for drunk driving.

The man was taken to jail, but Fritz checked the woman, who was in the passenger's seat, into a hotel.

Fritz returned after his shift and police say the woman was passed out.

Fritz later admitted to having consensual sex with the woman, but she says she woke up to the officer having sex with her.

On Monday, the former officer apologized to his friends, family, co-workers, and the people of Covert Township.

He also apologized to the victim.

"I never should have offered her a hotel room in the first place; it never should have happened. I never should have put her in that situation," he said.

Before Van Buren County Chief Judge Kathleen Brickley. handed down the sentence, she had some harsh words for Fritz, saying rarely has the court encountered a more despicable turn of events than the one he orchestrated last summer.

"You preyed upon and exploited and damaged a woman; a woman who was entirely helpless due to excessive intoxication," she said.

Fritz was originally charged with kidnapping and rape.

Those charges were dropped, in exchange for pleading guilty to unlawful imprisonment.

In the end, the judge sentenced Fritz to one year in jail and five years probation.

The victim told the judge Fritz's sentence was not enough, but she says the public will know what he did, and she's grateful he will never be a police officer again.