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State's Attorney voices frustration over no jail time in rape conviction

Posted at 5:58 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 17:58:19-05

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Baltimore County’s State Attorney is sharing his frustration over the sentence a former county cop received.

Anthony Westerman was sentenced to four years of home detention for raping a woman and one day of jail for assaulting another.

RELATED: Home detention for Baltimore County Police officer convicted of rape, assault

Now, the State Attorney Scott Shellenberger said he believes this sends the wrong message for people who commit these types of crimes and the victims who share their stories.

“This was a very serious offense he attacked A woman who was clearly intoxicated. He told her he was going to have her dropped off at her house and he had her taken to his house and she was unconscious when she woke up he was on top of her sexually assaulting her,” Shellenberger said.

Anthony Westerman is a former Baltimore County police Officer who had been convicted of two counts of rape.

One incident happened in October of 2017 another occurred in June of 2019. After a trial in August of 2021 Westerman was convicted of two counts of second degree rape, third degree sexual offense and fourth degree sexual assault.

Friday Judge Keith Truffer said he made a mistake and only intended to convict Westerman on one of two rape counts while merging his sentence together for both crimes.

Shellenberger said he believes Westerman’s former role as a police officer influenced the judge’s decision.

“I think that factored into it I think the judge was concerned about Westermans safety in the division of correction if he went there. But Westerman should’ve thought of that before he committed the crime not after it’s all over with and he’s convicted,” Shellenberger said.

On Friday, Judge Truffer sentenced Westerman to four years of in home detention for one of the assaults and just one day of jail time for the other assault.

This comes after Judge Truffer determined there was not evidence of any psychological injury to the victim despite the fact that she received therapy after the attack. It’s a sentence that shocked many people and Shellenberger said it was a slap on the wrist.

“When you’re serving a second-degree rape conviction and you’re at your own home...that’s a slap on the wrist. I think it certainly send a message that that if you commit an offense like this and end up in front of this judge you may end up doing your time sitting on your couch at home watching tv,” Shellenberger said.

And in addition to sending the wrong message to those committing the crimes, Amanda Rodriguez who’s a sexual assault advocate for Turnaround Inc. said this sends the wrong message to the victims as well.

“Every survivor experiences trauma differently especially with sexual violence which is such an intimate and personal thing. So to say that it didn’t show up the way that we expected it to or didn’t show up at all it is likely untrue. The reality is the victim is not to blame for something that was caused against them,” Rodriguez said.

Shellenberger agreed.

“Worse than that is it sends a message to sexual assault victims that their story doesn’t matter. When they come forward going in open courtroom to testify to these very difficult facts and then have virtually nothing happen, I think it will definitely hurt victims coming forth again,” Shellenberger said.