A former Kenosha County Jail guard accused of sexually assaulting inmates rejected a plea deal Wednesday.
Jonathan Kwiatkowski, 29, is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff and two counts of misconduct in public office.
He is accused of using jail records to access phone numbers for women who were in the jail work release program and then contacting them inappropriately. One of the women said Kwiatkowski then sexually assaulted her at the jail, another said she had sex with Kwiatkowski on multiple occasions.
In the criminal complaints, Kwiatkowski admitted contacting the women through a text, but denied having sex with them.
On Wednesday, Kwiatkowski rejected a plea deal offered by the state. That deal would have seen him enter a guilty plea to one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of misconduct in public office, with the other two counts dismissed. The state would have recommended he spend time in prison as part of that deal, Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill said.
Circuit Court Judge Mary K. Wagner explained to Kwiatkowski that. if convicted at trial. he faces up to 40 years in prison for each of the sexual assault charges and up to 3½ years in prison for each of the misconduct in public office charges.
Wagner also granted the state’s request to join the two separate cases against Kwiatkowski for the trial. McNeill said the cases had a “high degree of similarity” and that the defendant’s “modus operandi” was the same in each case.
Defense attorney Patrick Cafferty argued joining the cases would be prejudicial for Kwiatkowski.
“Both of the alleged victims have significant credibility issues,” Cafferty said, saying trying the cases together made it more likely a jury would give more weight to the victims’ stories. “To put them together is to unfairly prejudice Mr. Kwiatkowski in the eyes of the jury,” Cafferty argued.
Cafferty is also seeking access to medical records of one of the victims named in the complaints, saying he believes that information in the medical records could show that she is not a credible witness.
Wagner said she would look at the records to see if they contained information that would cause her to believe “the defendant’s right to defend himself outweighed the (victim’s) right to privacy.”
The case is expected to go to trial May 23.