NASHVILLE -- Former Nashville Police Chief Ira Shealy, 53, pleaded guilty Thursday to three misdemeanors -- two counts of sexual battery and public indecency -- and two felony counts of sexual assault against female inmates. Both felonies occurred at the Nashville Police Department.

Judge Dane Perkins sentenced Shealy to five years sexual offender probation, during which time he would not be allowed to contact either victim. Also, he is required to undergo counseling and to forfeit his police certification. Shealy had been in law enforcement since 1977.

Alapaha Circuit District Attorney Bob Ellis said he thought justice was served, especially since Shealy had, until a few years ago, been a good police officer.

"I don't know that (Shealy) would consider the sentence light," he said.

Ellis added that since Shealy came out and admitted that he made a mistake -- showing contrition -- that the court system usually tries to factor that into the sentencing.

However, Ellis said, if Shealy were to violate his probation, he would go immediately to jail.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, at least one of the incidents occurred in 2000.

Shealy had served as police chief since April 14, 1989.

To contact reporter Marie Arrington, please call 244-3400, ext. 254.

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