Ex-Cop from Calif. Gets 35 Years in Teen Sex Case in Las Vegas

By: Ken Ritter AP
By: Ken Ritter AP

A former California police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years to life in prison for flashing a badge, ordering a teenage boy into his vehicle and sexually assaulting him.

"This man is the stranger who snatches your child off the street," prosecutor Mary Kay Holthus said. She called Shawn Michael Shelton "the worst of the worst" and accused him of threatening to shoot his skateboard-toting victim if the boy told of the May 2006 attack.

"You're supposed to trust police, but what he did ... I can't trust," said the boy, now 15, whose name was withheld on the judge's order before he spoke from the witness stand Tuesday. "I can't, like, be like a normal kid."

Shelton, 40, of Moorpark, Calif., sat in handcuffs and blue jail scrubs, shackled to other jail inmates, and stared at the boy.

He did not address Clark County District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt, who gave him maximum consecutive sentences for four felony charges: first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault of a minor, battery with intent to commit sexual assault, and use of a minor in the production of pornography.

Shelton's lawyer, Carmine Colucci, said he will appeal. Colucci had asked the judge for leniency, citing the support of Shelton's family and commendations Shelton accumulated in a 15-year career as a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and Manhattan Beach police officer.

"He can be, and is, a good man when he puts his mind to good things," Colucci said.

The victim's mother said Shelton wasn't a good person when he attacked her son.

"This man, if he did good things, why is he going to harm a child?" asked the boy's mother, who spoke through a Spanish-language interpreter and whose name was withheld on the judge's order. "I don't care if he was a good person. He wasn't at that time, and now he's not."

A jury found Shelton guilty April 13 after the teen testified that Shelton showed him a badge, claimed to be a police officer investigating a case and ordered him into a black Hummer at a bus stop near a Las Vegas mall.

The teen said Shelton handcuffed and searched him, and drove him to a desert area before forcing him to perform oral sex. Shelton photographed the boy, and police later matched DNA evidence on the
boy's shirt to Shelton.

Shelton knew he had the AIDS virus at the time of the attack, Holthus said.

The jury, which acquitted Shelton of a robbery charge, was not told of his HIV status, and the teen has not tested positive for the AIDS virus.

Holthus handed the judge photos she said police found on Shelton's digital camera of other boys appearing unconscious or drugged in provocative poses, and suggested there were other victims in other places.

Prosecutor Joshua Tomsheck said outside court that Shelton also faces charges in Ventura County, Calif., including trespassing, damaging property and impersonating an officer stemming from an incident shortly before the Las Vegas assault.

Authorities said Shelton was a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy for five years before becoming a police officer in Manhattan Beach in 1994. He was promoted to sergeant in 1999 before taking an extended medical leave and then retiring from the force.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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