Fmr. Dane Co. deputy charged for unfounded Festge Park attack claim

The former Dane Co. Sheriff’s deputy who was fired after an unfounded report she was attacked at Festge Park last fall was charged with a misdemeanor.
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 2:53 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The former Dane Co. Sheriff’s deputy who was fired after an unfounded report she was attacked at Festge Park last fall was charged with a misdemeanor, the sheriff’s office stated Monday.

Sarah Bortz-Rodriguez is accused of a misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer. She appeared in Dane County Circuit Court Monday, where she pleaded not guilty and her signature bond was set at $500. She could face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a sentence of up to nine months.

“The actions of this former deputy do not represent the culture of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office,” said Dane Co. Sheriff Kalvin Barrett. “As your Sheriff, I want to assure our citizens and our staff that we will follow the law where it leads us; we will administer justice to all, regardless of the outcome, regardless of their standing, regardless of their profession.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation into the incident that happened on Oct. 21, 2021, at Festge Park in Cross Plains.

Bortz-Rodriguez was fired less than a month after the incident on Nov. 17, 2021, in which she reported a man cut her with an edged weapon and she fired her service weapon at him.

Initially, Bortz-Rodriguez claimed she was investigating a suspicious person at the park shortly after 8 p.m., on October 21, when a man dressed in a black hoodie, black pants, and a hockey mask, similar to the one worn by the “Jason” character from the Friday the 13th movies. On that night, she thrice told fellow deputies the man stabbed her before she fired once at him as he fled into a wooded area.”

A letter signed by Sheriff Barrett detailed the discrepancies between her retelling and what investigators eventually determined, saying her “explanation about encountering another person at the park is not credible and was not supported by any evidence.”

Between an administrative hearing and the investigation, Sheriff Barrett alleged Bortz-Rodriguez mixed and consumed items that were redacted in the released letter and she drove in that impaired state. It also cited her impaired state when noting she had fired her gun.

Prior to her dismissal, Bortz-Rodriguez had been with the Sheriff’s Office since May 2014.

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