Former Saline Co. deputy pleads guilty to sex charge - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Former Saline Co. deputy pleads guilty to sex charge

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HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) -

Former Saline County sheriff's deputy Todd Fort pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse as part of a deal with the state Friday morning.

This is an amended charge to the nearly 2 dozen others he faced. Those charges included sexual assault, official misconduct and two counts of theft of governmental property by deception exceeding $300 but not exceeding $10,000. But as part of the plea deal all those charges were dropped.

Fort was accused of have a sexual relationship with a Bobbi Jo Carrigan, who worked at his office, starting when she was 16 years old.

On Friday, Carrigan sat behind Fort in court as he pleaded guilty to a sexual abuse charge for acts that took place when she was 17 years old.  Outside the courtroom, Saline County State's Attorney Mike Henshaw read a state from the Carrigan family.

"Bobbie's parents wanted to spare their daughter from the trauma of having to relive, in open court, in detail the graphic, the nature of the evidence that would have been presented," Henshaw said.

Fort's was set to go to trial in just three days. But his attorney Bryan Drew says Fort wanted to put what happened with Carrigan behind him.  

"He didn't want to put his family through it," Drew said. "He didn't want to put Bobbie through it. A jury trial, contrary to what a lot of people say, a jury trial is a very difficult thing for everyone involved and he's put that behind him and he'll get to move on with his life here very shortly."

As part of the plea deal, Fort gets credit for all the days he's sat in the Jackson County Jail. Drew says he should be out of prison in about four months. Sill Fort will have to register as a sex offender the rest of his life and pay court fines. In exchange, the state dropped nearly two dozen other charges.

It's a deal the Carrigan family say they support.

"It also allows Bobbie to continue on with her life without constantly being reminded with the events that took place in 2010," Henshaw read from a statement.

But before she moved on, Bobbi Jo Carrigan watched, as the man she once said she loved headed back behind bars.

Fort retired from the sheriff's department in August 2010.  He filed a letter of resignation as president of the Harrisburg School Board in November 2010.

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