A former supervisor at the Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Casper will serve six months in jail followed five years of probation after admitting that he groped a female inmate while he was working.

District Judge Thomas Sullins sentenced John R. Gallagher Friday morning in Natrona County District Court. Gallagher pleaded guilty in August to a single count of third-degree sexual assault.

A second charge originally filed against Gallagher was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

According to court documents, the inmate was inside her cell at the juvenile detention center in November 2017 when Gallagher approached and grabbed her breast.

Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen recommended Friday that Gallagher serve a prison sentence of three to five years for the crime, saying that the criminal justice system owes a duty of care to people who have been incarcerated.

"We don't send them there to be abused. We send them there as part of a punishment," Itzen said. He emphasized that the system cannot tolerate people in positions of authority who take advantage of inmates.

Defense attorney Donald Fuller, in recommending a suspended prison sentence and probation for Gallagher, said that the crime occurred in a matter of seconds. He added that Gallagher did not use his authority in order to have sexual contact with the victim.

"She brought the contact to him," Fuller said.

Fuller went on to say that Gallagher would have to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years, regardless of the sentence imposed by the court.

He noted that the office of probation and parole recommended probation for Gallagher, adding that Gallagher has no history of substance abuse, no criminal history and a low risk of recidivism.

"There are times in life where were defined by what happens in one or two seconds," Fuller told the court.

In sentencing Gallagher, Sullins ordered that he complete a sex offender evaluation and comply with any recommendations that may stem from that evaluation. Underlying the five-year probationary term is a suspended prison sentence of eight to 12 years.

Sullins ordered Gallagher remanded to the custody of the Natrona County Sheriff in order to begin serving his jail sentence at the conclusion of Friday's hearing.

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