MENOMINEE, Mich. — A former sheriff's deputy accused in the sexual assault of a teenage boy in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Brian W. Helfert of Menominee pleaded guilty in court Friday to attempted accosting for immoral purposes, which carries a penalty of up to two years. The 57-year-old was initially charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. The trial was originally expected to start later this month, according to The (Escanaba) Daily Press.

Under the plea deal, he can't face more than six months in county jail. His sentencing on the new charges is Dec. 4.

"I wish to plead guilty, your honor," Helfert said in court, according to The EagleHerald in Marinette, Wisconsin.

He also acknowledged "inappropriate" statements made to the teenage victim who he knew through his assignment as a Menominee County juvenile crime investigator and school resource officer.

Helfert was fired from the Menominee County Sheriff's Department in December 2019.

Menominee is about 55 miles (88 kilometers) from Green Bay, Wisconsin.