McCOOK, Nebraska -- A former Hillcrest Nursing Home employee who was charged with sexual assault, stemming from an incident involving him and a male resident at the Red Willow County owned nursing home, was sentenced to probation after accepting a plea agreement that amended the charge to third degree assault.
As part of the plea agreement the offender, 44-year-old Chris L. Mehringer, 310 E. Fifth Street, pleaded no contest to the Class I misdemeanor offense of third degree assault and was sentenced to 24 months probation, and 90 days in county jail, the latter suspended until February 2013 and, possibly waived by the court at the recommendation of his probation officer. If the jail time is not waived, Mehringer is scheduled to serve it in three 30-day allocations, beginning Feb. 1, June 1 and Dec. 2, 2013.
According to court documents, the original charge against Mehringer alleged that during a 2 a.m. incident on May 5, 2012, at the Red Willow County-owned nursing home, he subjected another to sexual contact without consent when he knew, or should have known, that his victim was physically or mentally incapable of resisting or appraising the nature of his conduct.
The amended charge Mehringer was convicted of stated he caused bodily injury to another person or threatened him in a menacing manner. Both versions were Class I misdemeanor offenses.
Mehringer was assigned a public defender in June and pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge later that month. He accepted the plea agreement in September, offered by Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood, that amended the charge to third degree assault. Mehringer was sentenced Nov. 15, 2012, in Red Willow County Court.
Mehringer was working as a CNA at the nursing home when the incident occurred. According to Hillcrest Administrator Colinda Nappa, Hillcrest Nursing Home immediately suspends any employees accused of abuse, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Mehringer's employment with the nursing home officially ended in July and his license as a nurse aide was pulled by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in August, following a "finding of abuse."
At the time of the incident, Mehringer was a volunteer fireman with the McCook Fire Department.
Although his DHHS license as an EMT remains active, he voluntarily resigned from the McCook Fire Department this summer.