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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Nieminski Sentenced To 9 Years, 9 Months In Prison

Issue Date: January 2, 2020

In an emotion-filled courtroom on Monday, Dec. 30, Marinette County Circuit Court Judge David Miron sentenced former Coleman Junior Varsity Volleyball coach Jason R. Nieminski to nearly 10 years behind bars and another 10 years on extended supervision and registration as a sex offender sex offender restrictions for multiple counts related to sexual offenses involving a girl who was 15 when the relationship began.

It was the maximum sentence that could be imposed for the charges to which Nieminski had pled guilty in a plea bargain arrangement accepted on Oct. 9.

At that time Nieminski pled no contest to five of the 22 charges that had been filed against him. The remaining charges were dismissed with the stipulation that they could be considered at sentencing.

District Attorney DeShea Morrow said the trauma that going through a trial would cause for a victim is a consideration when plea bargain agreements are accepted in cases like this, and she repeated that sentiment at the sentencing hearing.

Maximum penalties, if convicted on all 22 counts, could have totaled 100 years in prison plus $300,000 in fines... up to 40 years in prison plus a $100,000 fine for each of the two Felony C counts; 25 years in prison plus $100,000 fine for the Felony D; six years in prison plus $10,000 fine on the Felony H; 3.5 years plus $10,000 fine on the Felony I, and up to 9 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000 on the misdemeanor count.

The charges for which he was sentenced were Sexual Intercourse with Child 16 or Older - Nine months in prison; Expose Child to Harmful Material " one year and six months in prison and two years extended supervision; Expose Child to Harmful Material " one year and six months in prison and two years extended supervision; Cause Child 13 to18 to View Sexual Activity " three years in prison and three years extended supervision, and another charge of Cause Child 13 to 18 to View Sexual Activity " three years in prison and three years extended supervision. All sentences are to be served consecutively

There were 18 people in the courtroom for the sentencing in addition to news media, security officers and court officials. Among them were the victim and her mother. Others were friends and family members of either the victim or Nieminski, or both. When sentence was pronounced and Miron ordered Nieminski's bail revoked uniformed security officers stepped forward at once to escort him out of the room en route to jail and then to prison. As Nieminski left the room he did not look back at those in the audience, nor had he turned to look at them during the proceedings.

Tears were flowing and comforting hugs were exchanged in the hallway outside the courtroom after the hearing adjourned. Some appeared to be shared between friends and families of the victim and friends and families of the defendant.

The charges were brought against Nieminski on Nov 6, 2018, after local authorities were alerted by a cyber tip from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigation that some of his Facebook exchanges with the victim had been flagged by Facebook Messenger for inappropriate content.

Marinette County investigators identified the victim and searched her phone and smart watch and found the Facebook Messenger conversation between the victim and Nieminski, who was once a JV Volleyball Coach in Coleman. Attached to that conversation were dozens of sexually-explicit photos and some videos of what appeared to be an underage girl. They also found a sexually-explicit image of an adult male.

The victim later admitted that it was she and Nieminski in the images, according to the criminal complaint.

A detective spoke with Nieminski's wife, who said her husband had confessed to her that he had been exchanging inappropriate messages with the underage girl. She said she had warned her husband over the summer than he should not be texting and talking to the victim as much as he was.

Detectives spoke with the girl again after she told a social worker that she had sex with Nieminski. Investigators say the sex started in October 2017, when the girl was 15, and lasted through October 2018.

The victim told investigators that Nieminski gave her a box of "triangle-type devices" to prevent pregnancy. She said Nieminski told her not to tell anyone about what they were doing. He threatened to tell people that she blackmailed him, according to the complaint, and one of the dismissed charges was a misdemeanor count of intimidating a victim to dissuade reporting.

Nieminski had been coaching Junior Varsity Volleyball for Coleman School District for 14 years before the School Board accepted his resignation in February of 2018 and it was while he held this position that he and the victim became acquainted.

At the start of sentencing on Jan. 30, Judge Miron noted the five counts for which Nieminski was to be sentenced, and that the remaining 17 counts were being read into the record.

Miron read names of numerous persons who had written letters on behalf of the defendant, and among them were letters from both Nieminski and his wife as well as Defense Attorney Brian Maloney. Many of the letters cited Nieminski's 5-year-old son as a reason for leniency in sentencing.

There also was a poignant letter from the victim which Miron read just before pronouncing sentence.

District Attorney DeShea Morrow asked for the maximum sentence for Nieminski, and noted that the victim, who was present with her family, also asked for the maximum sentence.

She described Nieminski as man in a position of influence and authority who used that influence and authority to exploit the victim at a time when she was vulnerable, and said he should not get any consideration for reduction in sentencing other than what he had already gotten in the plea bargain when the 17 charges against him were dismissed.

Discussion indicated the girl had gone through a traumatic event and discussed it with Nieminski and the two began an "acting out" or role model playing that eventually led to Facebook exchanges of explicit sexual images requested by Nieminski and finally the intimate relationship that continued for six months and included trysts in a park, in the bathroom and guest room of the Nieminski family home, and elsewhere. "Slowly, over time, he groomed her," Morrow declared. He noted he was a married man with a child and she was a very conflicted 15-year-old.

"She felt used, and abused," Morrow said. The second oldest of 11 children she had helped on the family farm and helped care for her younger siblings, but because of what transpired she left her family, moved to a foster home in a new community so she could attend a new school. "It is important to note the tremendous harm that was done," Morrow declared. She said the girl had been earning a 3.8 GPA at Coleman was a member of National Honor Society and Future Business leaders of America. Even after going through counseling and moving to the new school she continued to earn a 3.4 GPA during her senior year of high school. "This is a good kid!" Morrow declared. He said Nieminski offered friendship when she needed it, "but that friendship came with strings attached." She described very explicit sexual photos of body parts that Nieminski had sent and asked for, and declared he should have considered the effect it would have on his wife and family.

Maloney argued that his client had no prior record, either as a juvenile or an adult, has always worked and supported his family. He said said Nieminski "needs a chance for redemption, a chance to be a father to his 5-year-old son."

He pointed out that throughout the investigation and publicity in the community no other minor has come forward with any accusations against Nieminski. He argued that long incarceration would serve no purpose, and said the US leads the world in incarcerations. He said punishment already includes loss of employment, financial ruin and enrollment in the ex offender registry. He argued for a short prison term and long, long extended supervision.

Nieminski read a written statement in which he apologized to the victim, and to his family. "I failed all of you," he said, "instead of healing, which was intended, I caused hurt"I hate what I have done to you."

Miron declared some of the arguments "hogwash," and recalled the old saying, ൗ will get you 20," and expressed the wish that he could impose a 20-year sentence in this case.

He compared the ages - 41 years to 15 - , and declared,"frankly, I wish a jury would have had a chance to rule on this case."

He said it as not a momentary loss of judgement, it was a long-continued relationship.

He also read the letter from the victim, and commented, "It's chilling what she has gone through as a result of what you have done."

In her letter the girl wrote, "I gave him all that I had and now I feel empty and cheated".because of him, I hate who I am"..because of him I wanted to end my own life because I felt so empty and used ". I feel dirty"He took my smile, my laugh"I want my life back, the life I lived before Jason destroyed me"My life is barely started and I am broken." She had spent three weeks in a hospital before going to a foster family because she was afraid to face her own family and the community. She was suffering with PTSD and depression, Miron said.

In the letter she referred to Nieminski's wife as "an awesome lady."

After reading the letter Miron noted that one of the dismissed charges alone carried a possible 40-year sentence, so he agreed with Morrow that a great deal of consideration had already been given to Nieminski, and imposed the maximum punishment for each of the offenses on which he had been found guilty.


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