By Lindsay Field
MARIETTA - One of two Sheriff’s Office sergeants accused in separate cases related to sexually assaulting jail inmates has decided to plead guilty to all but one of the charges.
Kristopher David Travitz, 37, was arrested in February on charges of two counts each of distributing obscene materials and sexual assault against an inmate and one count of aggravated sexual battery.
The case of another Cobb sergeant, Alvin Blake Sutherland, who is accused of sexually abusing four female inmates, is expected to be heard this month.
The Douglasville resident and former U.S. Marine, who had worked with the department for 14 years prior to his arrest, showed two female inmates pornographic photos and performed sexual acts with both women while they were being housed in the Cobb County jail in 2010 and 2011.
Travitz pleaded guilty on Monday to all but one of the charges at a hearing before Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben Green. The aggravated sexual battery charge was dismissed.
“As I have stated before, misconduct by those sworn to uphold the law is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with expeditiously and the offender prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren in a release. “I had complete confidence in my investigators, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia who investigated and prosecuted this case.”
Marietta attorney Joel Pugh, who represented Travitz, said he was surprised by his client’s decision to plead guilty.
“He said he had a change of heart over the weekend,” Pugh said Monday. “Last week, he did not want the plea but this morning he decided to change his mind.”
Pugh said he’s been discussing a negotiated plea with the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia for more than a month. Because of a potential conflict of interest between the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office and Travitz, the case was assigned to a district attorney from outside of Cobb.
“(Travitz) was very emotional and asked the judge for leniency, despite it being a negotiated plea and told the judge that his entire adult life he’s done good things,” Pugh said. “The judge handled it very well and told him not to let this define who he is and not to let his children believe this is who he is.”
Pugh said the former sergeant’s family was present to support him.
Green sentenced Travitz to 15 years in prison, but Travitz will only serve five years. The remaining 10 years will be served on probation, according to court documents.
Pugh said his client has remained in jail since his arrest but was originally held at the Bartow County Jail since he was a Cobb County sheriff’s deputy. He was recently transferred to Cherokee County’s jail, where he will remain until the Georgia Department of Corrections determines where he will be imprisoned.
Another sergeant facing jail time
The acts are believed to have occurred between June 2009 and Jan. 11 of this year.
Sutherland was indicted in June on 18 counts: seven counts of aggravated sodomy; five counts of sexual assault against a person in custody; three counts of making false statements; two counts of aggravated sexual battery; and one count of rape.
Cobb Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin said he faces life in prison without parole on the rape charges alone.
The case will be heard by Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley and Sutherland is scheduled to appear in her courtroom on Friday. Melvin said Sutherland’s attorney, Christopher Flinn of Decatur, will be requesting a continuance.