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Former Montgomery County corrections officer pleads in sex case

Ex-Montgomery County Jail corrections officer Franco Villella is due back in court on August 20 for sentencing.
Ex-Montgomery County Jail corrections officer Franco Villella is due back in court on August 20 for sentencing.

A former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to six counts accusing him of sexual misconduct at the jail.

Franco Villella, 24, entered his plea on Monday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. He is due back in court on August 20 for sentencing. Villella’s attorney, Mark Wieczorek, declined to comment when reached by the Dayton Daily News on Tuesday.

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Villella was originally charged in connection to allegations that he led a woman into a seldom-used jail bathroom stall and forced her to engage in sexual conduct with him.

“The defendant took the victim, who was an inmate being held in the jail, down a hallway to a restroom and forced her to submit to sexual conduct,” the prosecutors said in a press release when he was first charged in 2018.

Villella was indicted on four additional charges of sexual battery in April of 2019 after another victim came forward, according to a Montgomery County Prosecutor press release that was released at that time.

“A second victim came forward and reported that the defendant has forced her to submit to sexual conduct as well,” the release says.

An investigation determined that the incidents with that victim occurred before the first indicted incident, the release says.

The prosecutor’s office said the second victim was also a female inmate at the Montgomery County Jail.

A Montgomery County Prosecutor spokeswoman said the six counts will merge into three counts after the plea. She said there were no agreements with regard to sentencing made prior to the plea, but he will have to register as a Tier 3 sex offender for life.

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Villella was also sued in Montgomery County Common Pleas court by one of his alleged victims. According to court documents, a final pre-trial hearing is set in the case for Nov. 4, and a trial date is set for Nov. 16.