PAW PAW — A former Covert Township police officer who faced kidnapping and rape charges has pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment.
Erich Fritz agreed to the plea agreement June 9 in Van Buren Circuit Court. He could face up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing date is scheduled for July 17.
“This is a plea agreement which guarantees the outcome without the need to have a trial,” Van Buren County Prosecutor Michael Bedford said.
Unlawful imprisonment takes into consideration the elements of kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct. Specifically, the charge requires unlawful restraint while committing felony criminal sexual conduct.
Fritz originally had been charged with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment after he took a woman to a motel and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Fritz had been with the Covert Police Department for only two months when the incident occurred July 9, 2016. The woman and her boyfriend were driving in a vehicle when Fritz pulled the vehicle over and arrested the boyfriend for drunk driving. He then took the woman to the motel.
Fritz arrested the woman’s boyfriend for drunk driving. Fritz resigned after Covert Police Chief Jay Allen questioned him about the incident.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story contained an error in the headline, regarding Erich Fritz' plea agreement.