WAXAHACHIE — When asked by Judge Gene Calvert Jr. if he understood and accepted the terms of the plea agreement on Thursday, former Emergency Services District 6 Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Keith Edward Wisakowsky simply replied, “yes.”
The plea agreement comes after seven former volunteer firefighters, and one non-firefighter were arrested, charged and indicted in connection with an alleged sexual assault of Jason Waldek, another volunteer firefighter who has gone on record with multiple media outlets including WDL. The alleged incident took place on Jan. 20, 2015 at the ESD 6 fire station. With Wisakowsky's acceptance of the plea agreement, the cases against the other defendants were dropped.
“I understand the frustration felt by some people by the outcome of this," Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said. "When this case first appeared, I was as outraged as anyone, but criminal cases are very fluid. Facts and circumstances can change. And, more importantly, the understanding of those facts and circumstances can evolve. But from our perspective, we have a legal obligation to see that justice is done and that obligation never changes. It is constant and continuous.
“The simple fact of the matter is the facts and circumstances and understanding of this case evolved tremendously [and] that was discussed at length with the victim. We had many meetings with the victim and discussed what might happen if this case were to go to trial. He was in complete agreement with this resolution. In fact, he agreed that it would not be appropriate for the people involved with this matter to become registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives. That is what the outcome could have been had this proceeded to trial. So he agreed that would not have been a proper outcome.”
Wilson said he is confident that this outcome satisfies his office's obligation that justice had been done. He also noted that popular opinion would always take a back seat to make sure his obligation has been fulfilled.
“For those who are angered by this outcome, I ask them to consider this. What should happen if you or a loved one were ever charged with a crime? Should the prosecutor be obligated to seek a conviction no matter what? Of course not. That would not be just. That would be a great injustice to force that kind of an outcome in every single circumstance. We are required to see that justice is done for all citizens. That is justice for the accused as well as the victim,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately I can’t get into a lot of the particulars. I can only tell you that, I promise you we know far more about this case then anyone who knows what has been Tweeted or posted or reported. And, unfortunately, that is all I’m at liberty to say.”
According to Wilson, although there is a recording from the station on the day of the incident, reports of a video showing the alleged sexual assault are untrue.
Wilson added that Waldek has his entire life ahead of him and wishes him the best as pursues his dream to become a professional firefighter.
Wisakowsky pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor assault in connection with his arrest on April 6, 2015, and sentenced to 365 days in the county jail. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on community supervision for two years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $2,000. Among the conditions of community supervision, Wisakowsky is ordered to have no contact with the victim of the offense and to refrain from viewing or accessing pornography. Before the plea agreement, Wisakowsky was charged with aggravated sexual assault – a first-degree felony — and attempted aggravated sexual assault – a second-degree felony.
Wisakowsky's attorney Toby Shook said he is glad the case has been resolved.
“My client is happy to bring this incident to a close. He did not commit any type of sexual assault in this case and decided to enter into the plea bargain agreement to bring some closure to the events. We are happy that we have come to an agreement with the DA’s office. Now he is going to move on with his life, “ Shook said. “He has been placed on probation and has never been in trouble before. He has lived an exemplary life. He will continue to work and be a good citizen and follow the conditions that were laid out in the agreement. Obviously, we are glad that the felony case has been dismissed and we are happy that the other felony cases are being dismissed against the other firefighters.”
The cases against Casey Joe Stafford, Blake Jerold Tucker, Alec Chase Miller, Preston Thomas Peyrot, Brittany Leanne Parten, Gavin Lawrence Satterfield and William Hamilton Getzendaner, III were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Before the agreement Stafford, Tucker, Miller, Peyrot, Parten faced charges of aggravated sexual assault – a first-degree felony and attempted aggravated sexual assault - a second-degree felony. Satterfield and Getzendaner each faced a charge of tampering with a witness.
The Daily Light reached out to all attorneys connected with this case, including Joe Shearin who represents Miller, Kent McGire who represents Stafford, James Jenkins who represents Peyrot, Monica Bishop who represents Tucker, Mark Griffith who represents Parten and Ronald Bunch who represent Getzendander. Messages were left with their respective offices but were unreturned as of press time.
Gallo, who represents Satterfield, said his client consistently maintained his innocence from the start and through his own investigation it showed that his innocence was obvious.
“It is never easy for the government to dismiss a high-profile case. Ill-informed bystanders may be critical of the outcome, especially because it varies from the guilty narrative consistently portrayed in the media," Gallo said in press release. "So, it would have been far easier for the government just to press forward with the case and, thereby, avoid any potential negative criticism. But would that be the right thing to do? Shouldn't we all want our government officials to be more committed to doing the right thing, then they are to doing what is politically correct?
"Shouldn't we expect that our criminal justice system produce justice rather than just convictions? What if you were falsely accused of a crime that could result in you spending the rest of your life in a cement box? And, what if the news media had already published your book-in photo on the front page and ran flattering stories about your accuser?
"What kind of prosecutor would you want handling your case? One that is worried about being criticized or one that is solely dedicated to the ideals of justice. I've been practicing criminal law for twenty years, and I'm here to tell you that they come in both flavors. You better hope you have the one with real integrity."
Satterfield shared Gallo’s feelings about the outcome of the case.
"I'm glad that the record has finally been set straight. I have maintained my innocence from the beginning. I've been a law-abiding citizen my whole life, and I've always tried to be a good person," said Satterfield in the press release from Gallo’s office. “This arrest caused my family and me significant emotional distress and financial expense. I just want to thank my lawyer and everyone else who stuck by my side."
The Daily Light did reach out to Waldek through his personal Facebook account via direct message. No reply was received from Waldek as of press time.
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