The former victim witness coordinator for the Casper Police Department will spend between three years and 10 years in state prison for second degree sexual assault while in a position of authority over an individual, and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

James Holscher heard the sentence handed down by Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey during a hearing Tuesday.

Forgey accepted the terms of the plea deal offered by Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer and Holscher's defense attorney Cole Sherard. The sentence also requires Holscher to undergo a psychological evaluation, sexual offender therapy, and an anger management course.

Probation was not appropriate in this case, Forgey said.

Holscher was arrested in November, and pleaded guilty in January. He was terminated from his civilian position at the the police department in July, Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel said in November. Wetzel later said the allegations were “beyond disgraceful.”

Tuesday, family members and friends of Holscher filled the benches in the courtroom and heard the sentence, the prosecutor's reasons for the sentence, and the defense attorney's discussion of the defendant's background and letters of support from friends.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer told Forgey that this case wasn't just about sexual intrusion, but that Holscher used his position of authority to commit the crime.
Holscher had been having a sexual relationship with the victim, and the day of the assault, June 13, was a nonconsensual act, Schafer said.

The victim was a vulnerable adult with a learning disability, depression and on medication, Schafer said.

The victim did not make a statement in the presentence report, he said. Her therapist advised her not to because to even think of him would be detrimental to her mental health, he said.

Schafer rarely sees this kind of behavior, and when he does, it's usually like a step-father molesting a step-daughter, he said.

Holscher's actions not only harmed the victim, but the community, other professionals who help crime victims, the hundreds of victims he mentored, and the police department that paid for his training, Schafer said.

Defense attorney Cole Sherard told Forgey that Holscher was deeply remorseful, and that he has deep ties to the community including work as a deputy coroner and as the police department's victim witness coordinator.

While Holscher's actions were horrible, Sherard said his time as a deputy coroner may have affected him mentally and given him post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sherard also read five letters from friends and neighbors, who lauded Holscher's work in the community, his role as a family man, his professionalism, his church work and his charity work.

"'I believe he's a good person who made a bad choice,'" one letter writer said.

Longtime friend Ron Westby said the crime was inconceivable and asked Forgey to give Holscher probation. "None of this makes sense to anybody," Westby said.