MASON CITY, Iowa- A former Iowa State Patrol Sergeant learned his fate in court Monday after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges of theft back in October.
Michael Haugen of Forest City received a suspended sentence of two years in prison along with two years probation. Haugen will only spend time in prison if he violates probation.
“I’m ashamed of my actions, never in my life did I ever in my life think I would be addicted to any substance,” said Haugen. “My actions were not my true character but those of addiction.”
In June, Haugen resigned from his position as an Iowa State trooper after it was announced on his on-the-job conduct was under investigation. In a statement, Haugen admitted that he had been battling opioid addiction. In October, he pleaded guilty for stealing pain pills from the evidence room and altering documents to conceal it.
During the court hearing on Monday, Haugen made a statement that his addiction to painkillers started after he was issued a prescription while suffering from a medical condition.
“Addiction is unbelievable scary. I’m a strong person but now I know addiction is much stronger,” said Haugen. “I am thankful I was able to receive treatment for this disease and I’m on the road for recovery.”
Haugen’s attorney asked for a deferred judgement, which could eventually clear the conviction from Haugen’s record so he could use the skills he developed serving the public to give back to the community again, once he proves himself during probation.
District Court Judge Colleen Weiland said she believed prison isn’t necessary, but given the circumstances of repeated theft in a position of public trust, she believed a suspended sentence with two years probation is necessary.
Haugen said he hopes to be able to spread the word on the seriousness of addiction and to get help if you’re facing it.
“You’re not alone,” said Haugen. “I suffered from being addicted to pain pills too far, too long. There’s help out there, you can get help, find help.”