Janusz moved to GarCo jail for protection
Former Grand Junction police officer and convicted sex offender Eric Janusz went to Glenwood Springs last weekend, but not for the hot springs.
Amid worries about housing a former local police officer with a revoked bond following a child sex-assault conviction, Janusz, 43, was quietly transported in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday some 88 miles by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department to be housed temporarily at the Garfield County Jail.
Mesa County sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said Janusz’s safety inside the Mesa County Jail prompted the move.
“Janusz is less likely to run into other inmates that he may have arrested or had contact with in another county jail, however, that is possible wherever he goes,” Benjamin said.
Such arrangements don’t happen often, but the option’s always there, she said.
“The agreement among sheriffs isn’t unique to house inmates for each other, as needed,” Benjamin said.
Garfield County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jennifer Kelly said there is no formal written agreement with Mesa County covering such arrangements. In Janusz’s case, Garfield County will absorb costs associated with housing and feeding the former officer, but Mesa County will still be responsible for medical bills he may incur at the Garfield County Jail, Kelly said.
“We consider this an agency assist,” Kelly said, noting Mesa County has returned similar favors in the past.
Friday’s conviction marked the first time Janusz set foot in any jail in connection with the sexual assault case. In April 2012, Janusz posted a $25,000 bond at the front counter of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, and never entered the detention facility, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Janusz, who was free on bond, was taken into custody late Friday after a Mesa County jury convicted him on one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. The victim in Janusz’s case, now 29, testified to numerous sexual encounters with the officer in 2000 and when she was 16.
The jury specifically convicted Janusz for sex with the teen inside the former Mesa State College gymnasium in October 2000, when the woman testified they were briefly interrupted during oral sex by a radio call for service about an in-progress theft near Albertsons on 12th Street. Not guilty verdicts were returned respecting three other specific incidents to which the woman testified.
He faces 10 years to life in prison or probation during sentencing May 22 in Mesa County.
Janusz worked for the Grand Junction Police Department from January 1996 to October 2006.
He became a member of the Grand Junction Fire Department before leaving in February 2012.