Former Genoa police officer pleads guilty to sexual battery

Charge will be dismissed if he completes diversion program


PORT CLINTON — A former part-time Genoa police officer pleaded guilty this week in Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas to sexual battery, but may avoid a conviction if he successfully completes a diversion program.

Ben Jacks, 23, resigned in February from the department following an investigation into sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed charges of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child and disseminating harmful matter to juveniles.

Mr. Jacks agreed to forfeit his peace officer certification as part of the agreement.

If he successfully completes the diversion program, the sexual battery charge will be dismissed. If he fails the program, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and will have to register as a sex offender.

The investigation into Mr. Jacks began Feb. 1, when the Genoa police chief contacted the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, after two people told a village officer Mr. Jacks was having a sexual relationship with an underage girl. 

Mr. Jacks joined the department Sept. 13, 2016, and left Feb. 21.