Michael Rose Jr.

Corrections officer sentenced for selling cell phones to inmates

The former Montgomery County Jail corrections officer convicted of providing inmates with cell phones will spend a year in federal prison, a judge ruled Tuesday while saying a message needed to be sent to law enforcement.

Michael Rose Jr., 29, was convicted of to attempted extortion under color of official right. He was accused of providing multiple cell phones to inmates to conduct heroin trafficking in exchange for money.

“I think a message needs to be sent to those who serve as corrections and law enforcement officers that this breach of trust cannot be tolerated,” said U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice. “The crime is incredibly serious.”

EARLIER: Corrections officer pleads guilty to providing cell phones to inmates

Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, attended Tuesday’s sentencing in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

“I agree with that sentiment entirely,” Glassman said. “A message should be sent, and I hope that this prosecution — including the sentence of 12 months in federal prison — sends that message. Any bribe-taking by a public employee is a serious matter.”

Rice also ordered Rose to do 100 hours of community service, a mental health assessment, cognitive behavior therapy and submit to various probation conditions. Rose earned seven days of jail-time credit.

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The statutory sentencing range for the charge was from zero to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000. The advisory, non-binding sentencing range calculated for Rose was 12 to 18 months.

Rice said Rose had a horrible childhood and that his parents were part of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. He said Rose was a decent person who made a very bad mistake.”

He allowed Rose to not report for prison until Oct. 15, so Rose can remain employed as a truck driver, Rose’s children can be back in school and his wife can look for a teaching position. Prosecutors asked Rice to reconsider Rose’s delay of imposing the sentence. Rice declined.

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“I’m definitely ashamed of what I did,” said Rose, whose attorney said that his client should have never been hired to that job. “I’m embarrassed.”

Defense attorney James Fleisher filed his sentencing memorandum under seal, but Rice mentioned the 13 letters attached supporting Rose.

“I was in a bad spot and I made a poor decision,” Rose said. “I know I can be a better person.”

MORE: 15 lawsuits allege mistreatment of inmates at area jails

Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi wrote that Rose deserved more than the 6 months suggested by a pre-sentencing report.

“There is not a greater breach of public trust than when a government employee takes a bribe,” Tabacchi said, noting that corrections officers should take note of the sentence for someone who also allowed outside food into the jail that included drugs. “It will make someone think twice.”

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