Franklin County, KY – A recently-convicted sex offender has begun the process of re-enlisting in the U.S. military after a judge gave him the option to serve his country instead of serving prison time.
The incident occurred on Jan. 18, 2019 when 28-year-old Brandon Scott Price was working at the Franklin County Regional Jail, FOX News reported.
Price was accused of assaulting a female inmate whom he was transporting from the hospital back to the jail.
The female inmate filed a lawsuit in July of 2019 that said Price transported her to and from the Frankfort Regional Medical Center by himself, which in itself was a violation of the jail’s policy, The State Journal reported.
The lawsuit claimed that Price stayed with the inmate for five hours at the hospital and made multiple “sexually-charged comments” to her.
The complaint also alleged that the jail guard told the inmate he had connections with the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) employee who was responsible for making decisions about parole, The State Journal reported.
“On the way back to the jail, Price turned on Big Eddy Road and stopped the van. He turned around and told [the inmate] if she performed oral sex on him, he would talk to the KDOC employee he knew about getting her released from jail earlier,” the lawsuit read.
Then the complaint said Price got into the back of the van with the shackled inmate and proceeded to sexually assault her, The State Journal reported.
The inmate reported the assault to jail officials and said she did not consent to the sexual act.
Price was questioned by investigators and denied having had the inmate perform oral sex on him, The State Journal reported.
Authorities said that he had admitted he “made a stupid mistake… I let a female inmate touch me inappropriately.”
Price was arrested and charged with third-degree sodomy, a Class D felony, The State Journal reported.
He was released on a $10,000 bond pending trial.
The charge was ultimately knocked down to second-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and Price was convicted, The State Journal reported.
On Jan. 7, Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate gave Price an option when he sentenced him.
Wingate gave Price a 12-month sentence that is probated for two years if he enlists in the U.S. military, The State Journal reported.
“If you don’t enroll in 30 days, you can report to the Franklin County Regional Jail,” the judge warned. “You are under the gun, young man. You gotta do it.”
“You’re getting a huge break,” he added. “You made a terrible mistake, which I know personally cost the county money.”
Price’s attorney, Whitney Lawson, said her client formerly served in the U.S. Army and was in the process of re-enlisting but he was having problems, Business Insider reported.
“It is not uncommon for judges to put unique conditions like this based on the defendant that is in front of them and create conditions that will best serve them to stay on the straight and narrow,” Lawson said. “It’s just that this one happened to have the military element to it.”
She said Price was struggling to find a service branch that would accept him with his sexual assault conviction, Business Insider reported.
“The problem is, you can ask 10 people whether he can re-enlist and in what branch, and they’ll give you nine different answers, so we’re trying to work through that,” Lawson explained.
All of the U.S. military branches have raised their recruitment standards in recent years, and the judge’s order doesn’t stand as far as forcing a recruitment office to accept anyone, Task & Purpose reported.
Applicants with convictions have to apply for a waiver.
In fact, Army Regulation 610-210 actually says that without a waiver, an applicant is not eligible for enlistment if, “as a condition for any civil conviction or adverse disposition or any other reason through a civil or criminal court, [they are] ordered or subjected to a sentence that implies or imposes enlistment into the Armed Forces of the United States,” according to Task & Purpose.