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Beernink gets 9 months in jail for sexual assault
MONROE - A former Monroe man was sentenced Friday to nine months in jail and three years of probation for having sex with an underage girl in 2015.

Turner Jermaine Beernink, 20, Milton, pleaded guilty in May to a Class G felony county of third-degree sexual assault. Two charges of exposing genitals to a child and a charge of child enticement were dropped.

The charge stemmed from an incident in May 2015, when Beernink met an underage girl via Facebook and had sex with her at his residence. The victim later told an adult about the incident and Beernink turned himself in.

Beernink was 18 at the time.

The victim had a written statement read on her behalf at Beernink's sentencing hearing. In it, the victim said she believed Beernink deserved a second chance and that he was "practically innocent" in her opinion.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Kohl said that a prison sentence would not be appropriate for Beernink, but a sentence of some consequence was necessary to rid him of his substance abuse issues. Kohl therefore recommended a sentence of three years probation, with one year to be served in jail with work release privileges. In addition, Beernink would face two and a half years in prison if he violated his probation.

Beernink's attorney, Jane Bucher, agreed with most of Kohl's recommendations, but believed six months in jail would be sufficient punishment. Even after Beernink completes his probation, Bucher said, he will be a registered sex offender for 15 years.

"The registration will be the most significant punishment he'll face," Bucher said, adding that the label will negatively affect his prospects for employment and housing in the future.

Green County Circuit Judge Thomas Vale found a compromise between the two recommendations, opting for a nine-month jail term as part of Beernink's probation. An additional sentence will be levied if Beernink violates his probation.

"I feel sorry, I feel ashamed, and I feel guilty," Beernink said. "I know I was an adult then, and there was no excuse for my actions."