BLOOMINGTON - Saying that he wanted to send a message to adults who give alcohol to minors, A McLean County judge senteneced a former part-time Chenoa police officer to 30 days in jail Friday.
Christopher Wurl, 32, was convicted of providing alcohol to two underage girls in November 2005. Both counts are misdemeanors. He was acquitted of a felony charge of contributing to the criminal deliqunecy of a minor.
Judge Kevin Fitzgerald told the former cop he considered the offenses "incredibly, incredibly stupid and a violation of your oath as a police officer."
In handing down the jail term that will be served on weekends, the judge said "this message needs to be sent to those who supply alcohol to minors."
The judge said the state had not proven the elements of the more serious charge that required Wurl to direct or compel the girls to drink the alcohol.
During the two day bench trial, a 17-year-old girl who was 15 at the time of the incident, testified that Wurl came to her house in 2005. The girl's friend who 17 years old at the time invited the officer to the house, she said. The witness said the police officer brought beer with him and invited the girls to leave with him in his truck.
After two stops at gas stations to purchase more alcohol, the witness said Wurl allowed the girls to drink alcohol as he drove around on country roads. The three ended up at the Chatsworth home of a friend of Wurl's, she said.
According to the witness, her friend and Wurl went into a bedroom at the Chatsworth apartment for about an hour.
Wurl testified Friday that he picked up the older girl that he believed to be 18 years old and took her to Chatsworth to meet his friend. He denied that the younger girl accompanied him or that he gave alcohol to the girls. He said he purchased the alcohol for a party to celebrate the birth of his daughter several days earlier.
Wurl said he lost his part-time job as a police officer and his full-time employment as a correctional officer at Pontiac Correctional Center after charges were filed. He said he now works as a technician at a car dealership.
Defense attorney Steve Skelton argued that a lack of any prior criminal record should have kept Wurl out of jail.
Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett asked for 90 days in jail.
In addition to the jail term, Wurl was ordered to pay a $500 fine. He also was placed on 24 months conditional discharge.