Former police officer sentenced to four years in prison for sex assault
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Tichich was sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Tamara Garcia handed down the guidelines sentence, saying there were no legitimate reasons to give the 49-year-old defendant a lighter sentence for his third-degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct jury convictions.
“This case is about you as a person, as a man, not you as a police officer,” Judge Garcia said, contradicting statements made by Tichich and his attorney.
Last month, a Hennepin County jury convicted Tichich for sexually assaulting a friend who was passed out on a couch after a night of drinking. Another woman in the house caught Tichich in the act and took photos before throwing him out into the cold. Those photos and the testimony of the woman who took them, as well as DNA evidence on the victim, led to his conviction. Tichich maintained the sex was consensual and when he apologized before his sentencing he still said “his recollection was different,” than the victim’s.
“The only part of Mr. Tichich’s statement I agreed with today was when he apologized to the Minneapolis Police Department for bringing shame to it,” Freeman said. “This case was about a man sexually assaulting a woman who thought she was safe in a friend’s house. It was that simple and we appreciate that Judge Garcia followed the Minnesota Sentencing guidelines and gave him 48 months in prison.”
In seeking a lighter sentence, Tichich’s attorney had two people testify to his character: a friend and his former police sergeant. Both men said Tichich’s behavior that December 2016 night was an aberration because he had spent his life helping and protecting others while in the military and then as a police officer.
The victim also addressed the court, giving her victim impact statement. She said she has lost a year-and-a-half of her life from the night of the sexual assault through the trial.
“I suffered fear, emotional distress,” the victim said. “Those pictures will be forever ingrained in my brain. I am ready to close this chapter so I can move forward.”