Plea Deal Reached in Texas Hazing

A plea deal has been reached in the sexual assault-hazing incident that occurred last year in Ellis County, Texas. In January, 2015 five firefighters sodomized firefighter Jason Waldeck with a sausage and a broom handle. The girlfriend of one of the firefighters filmed the hazing with her cellphone camera. All six were charged with aggravated sexual assault and attempted aggravated sexual assault.

Fire Chief Gavin Satterfield and Assistant Chief Billy Getzendaner were later charged with witness tampering for advising the victim and members not to discuss the incident with authorities.

The proposed plea deal will require one of the accused firefighters, Keith Edward Wisakowsky, to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of assault causing bodily injury, in exchange for the dismissal of all other charges. Wisakowsky would be given two years of probation, a $2,000 fine and 40 hours of community service.

More on the story.

11/10/16 Update: Keith Edward Wisakowsky pled guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault today. He was sentenced to one year in jail, with the sentence suspended. In exchange, charges against the other five firefighters were dismissed, as were the witness tampering charges against the fire chief and the assistant chief. More on the plea.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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