Former police lieutenant sentenced for sexual assault of a child

Dennis Jenks sentenced to 15 years in prison
Former police lieutenant sentenced for sexual assault of a child

A former Mount Horeb police lieutenant was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison and four years of extended supervision in a child sexual assault case.

Dennis Jenks, 45, pleaded guilty to one charge of repeated sexual assault of the same child in Dane County Court on March 24. Thirty-two other felonies were dismissed.

In an unusual twist the prosecutor and Jenk’s attorney asked the judge to sentence Jenks to 15 years in prison. Jenks was also facing federal pornography charges and had agreed to not pursue that case if Jenks received a 15 year sentence.

Judge Ellen Berz reluctantly agreed.

“I am supposed to consider the gravity of the offense, the character of the defendant and the protection of the public,” Berz said. “Instead, what seems to be the engine driving this sentencing is what the federal court or federal prosecutor wants. I don’t like that.”

Jenks was arrested last year after Madison police said he met a 14-year-old boy online and then started a sexual relationship.

A criminal complaint states that the boy told investigators he met Jenks on a chat website, and they met for the first time in September 2012. He said he moved in with Jenks in October, and stayed until the day Jenks was arrested.

Jenks told an investigator when he questioned the boy about his age the boy said he was 18. Jenks said he attempted, through various means, to confirm the boy’s age but was unable to do so. The boy admitted to police he used a false name, according to the criminal complaint.

The boy told police he remembered Jenks telling him he was not trying to be rude with regard to his age, but that he could lose his job.