By Zahra Ahmad, Mass Live
FLINT, MI — Former Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy George Charles Zofchak has been charged with sexually assaulting and kidnapping a woman he arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart in Vienna Township.
The 40-year-old was charged Friday, Dec. 28, with one count of criminal sexual conduct first-degree, one count of kidnapping and one count of misconduct in office. The assault and kidnapping charges carry up to life in prison while the third charge is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at 10:30 a.m. the Genesee Sheriff’s Department received a phone call in regard to a shoplifting incident at the Walmart on Linden Road near M-57, according to investigative reports. Zofchak, who was a deputy at the time but has since been removed, and another deputy responded to the call and arrested the male and female suspected of shoplifting.
Zofchak offered to stay with the female, who was now in handcuffs, until the couple’s car was towed and impounded while the other deputy took the male to the Genesee County Jail. After the car was impounded, Zofchak took the woman back to the motel she’d been staying at and forced her into giving him oral sex, according to Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Zofchak then threw the woman onto the bed and sexually assaulted her by groping her. After the incident, Zofchak made sure the victim understood she wasn’t to say anything to anyone and reported back to the substation, Pickell said.
The incident was reported to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department on Dec. 25 by the victim’s sister.
“He made a decision that he would betray the trust of this office and take advantage of her,” Pickell said. “It made me sick to my stomach but didn’t prevent me or the men or women of this office to proceed as quickly as possible in putting this case together.”
Zofchak pleaded not guilty through his attorney Frank J. Manley. Manely said his office has received the allegations and they are very severe, but he said they’re just allegations and his team will defend his client vigorously.
“We’re asking the public to to withhold judgment because rushing into judgment with unrefined facts is harmful to a person’s right to a fair trial,” Manley said. “Accusations don’t necessarily translate to truthfulness.”
The Genesee Sheriff’s Department sought charges from Prosecutor David Leyton’s office following an investigation of Zofchak and the incident.
“Nobody is above the law and that especially includes sworn police officers,” Leyton said. “The public expects and relies on law enforcement to protect us from the criminal element. When the roles are reversed, the public trust is broken.”
Zofchak is being lodged at the Lapeer County Jail with a bail set at $600,000. Pickell stated he won’t be lodged at the Genesee County Jail because the male suspect involved in the shoplifting incident is being lodged there as well as other suspects arrested by Zofchak.
He is set to be back in court on Jan. 10 at 1 p.m.