UPDATE: Fmr. Stockport Mayor Sentenced On Rape Charges

By: Todd Baucher Email
By: Todd Baucher Email

Updated: 05/22/2013 6:25 P.M.

Michael Shane Shuster maintained his innocence.

" Mr. Shuster, you're a dangerous man," the judge responded.

But the judge who heard the case of the Morgan County mayor, citing testimony during his April trial, didn't believe it.

"The victim suffered serious, or at least, psychological harm," Noble County Judge John Nau told Shuster. "The defendant held an office of public trust, and we would expect more of people who hold positions of public trust."

Arguing against a life sentence, Shuster's attorney said that, before the offenses on which Shuster was convicted, the former Stockport mayor never had any more than a couple of speeding tickets.

"It has no purpose to do that in punishing this person or deterring anyone else from doing these kinds of situations," said attorney Richard Hedges.

But, in imposing consecutive 25 years to life prison sentences, the judge agreed with the county prosecutor, that the incidents, which have been alleged to involve a family member, happened over several years.

"He may have been a law-abiding citizen prior to the commission of the first offense," said Prosecutor Mark Howdyshell, "but we're talking about a course of conduct over a number of years."

When, or, if, considering the nature of the sentences, Shuster leaves prison, he is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The judge also imposed sentences, which Shuster will serve at the same time, for gross sexual imposition and sexual battery.


Updated: 5/22/2013 2:45 P.M.

Former Stockport Mayor Michael Shane Shuster has been sentenced on several different charges.

Shuster received consecutive sentences of 25 years to life on 3 counts of rape of a victim under the age of 13.

Judge John Nau also gave him sentences which will be served at the same time, on Shuster's convictions of gross sexual imposition and sexual battery.

Todd Baucher was in the courtroom & will have a full report on WTAP @ 5 & WTAP News @ 6.

Updated: 04/05/2013 6:00 P.M.

A Morgan County jury finds Michael Shane Shuster guilty on multiple charges of gross sexual imposition, sexual battery, and rape.

It all stems from charges in March of last year concerning sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13.

Shuster was elected Mayor of Stockport in November of 2011, and the allegations surfaced in March of last year.

Shuster was initially indicted on 30 different counts but eight were thrown out.

The trial began Monday and a jury came to a verdict Thursday night.

The 21 charges break down into eight counts of gross sexual imposition, seven counts of sexual battery and six out of seven counts of rape.

He is expected to be sentenced in May.


Updated 11/05/2012 6:50 P.M.

A new judge will have to be chosen, in the trial of a Morgan County elected official.

Michael Shane Shuster is accused of sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13.

His trial, set to begin Monday, has been postponed indefinitely.

Shuster's attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, tells WTAP that Morgan County Common Pleas Judge Dan Favreau recused himself from the case last week.

It is not known why.

Shuster was indicted in April after his arrest in March.

He is still being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

Updated 8/08/2012 7:00 P.M.

A trial which was scheduled to begin Wednesday, has been postponed until later this year.

The trial of Michael Shane Shuster was scheduled to begin Wednesday in Morgan County, but was continued after his attorney filed motions stating Shuster was incompetent to assist in his own defense.

Under Ohio law, a mental evaluation is to begin immediately.

Shuster, who took office in January as mayor of Stockport, Ohio, was indicted in April on 30 counts, after being accused of sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13.

He is being held on half a million dollars bond.

His trial is now set for November fifth.


Updated 5/30/2012 3:50 P.M.

August ninth is the latest date for the trial of a Stockport mayor.

The trial of Michael Shuster was supposed to be held earlier this month, but was rescheduled after a morgan county judge granted his lawyer more time.

Shuster was indicted in April on 30 counts, after being accused of sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13.

Shuster has been held on a million dollars bond since shortly after his arrest...and an acting mayor has been running the village since then.

Updated 4/20/2012 6:20 P.M.

The mayor of Stockport, Ohio remains in jail...with another person holding his office for the time being.

Mayor Michael Shane Shuster was indicted earlier this week on 30 counts, after being accused of sexual contact with a girl under the age of 13.

Jan Slowter, a local business owner, was recently appointed acting mayor, at least until the outcome of shuster's upcoming trial.

Morgan County Prosecutor Mark Howdyshell says the charges are linked to 10 incidents of alleged sexual contact that began when the girl was 10 or 11. She is now 16.

Shuster remains held on a million dollars bond.

Updated 4/18/2012 12:00 P.M.

Michael Shane Shuster, who was elected mayor of Stockport, Ohio last November, has been indicted on ten counts of rape, ten counts of gross sexual imposition and ten counts of sexual battery.

The indictment by the Morgan County grand jury states the charges have to do with a series of incidents between 2006 and this past January, involving a person under the age of 13.

He remains in the Southeastern Ohio regional jail.

Updated 3/14/2012 1:45 P.M.

38-year old Michael Shane Shuster remains held on $1 million bond, after his preliminary hearing was waived Wednesday morning.

Shuster, who took office in January as the mayor of Stockport, Ohio, was charged last week with the alleged sexual assault of a juvenile.

The Morgan County sheriff's office says the charges were filed after it received a report of an alleged rape of a juvenile from Morgan County Children's Services.

Shuster's attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, asked the judge to lower his bond. Morgan County Judge Michael Lowe denied that request.

Shuster's case will now go to a Morgan County grand jury.


The arrest of a public official is always a big story in cities, states and the federal government.

But Stockport, ohio is a town of just more than 500 residents. Most of them we approached had little to say about the arrest this week of their mayor, Michael Shane Shuster, who, according to documents at the Stockport Municipal Building, signs his name as Shane Shuster.

And the hushed lips aren't just those of the general populace. The Morgan County prosecutor also wouldn't comment beyond the statement of the county sheriff, who was unavailable for comment.

The sheriff's office in a statement says Shuster was confined in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Athens County, charged with rape, after the sheriff was informed Monday by Morgan County Childrens Services of a rape involving a juvenile.

This incident, ironically, comes just two months after Shuster took office as mayor. He was elected to the post in November, with no opposition.

One person who knows Shuster says that, like those in the community, he can't believe the allegations against the mayor.

"He's a real nice guy," said John Blosser. "Everyone in Stockport likes him, and thinks a whole lot about him. He tries to do anything he can for a person. It's just unbelievable what's going on here now."

A note on the door of the municipal building, which was closed Friday, said Shuster's family owns several businesses in the town.

While Morgan County Prosecutor Mark Howdyshell would not comment on the case for WTAP, he did say, in a statement to the Morgan County Herald newspaper, that bond for Shuster has been set at $1 million, and that the mayor is not to be within 500 yards of the victim or family members.

Shuster's preliminary hearing is set for Monday.

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  • by Sickened Location: McConn on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM
    Just keep him away from my daughter.
  • by Anon Location: Moco on Jul 11, 2012 at 09:54 AM
    Why is he still called mayor in all of the articles that I have read he has resigned. Also don't all of you feel that jail is the best place for anyone wether they are guilty or not just to protect the victim... Also I personally know the victim and her family and how would you feel if you lost the family that you had known for 10 years. I know that she did nIt do this out of spite but for herself and I the end isn't that all that Is important and it's also not like she told anyone till the end I also know that her mom did not know until the cops told her. All I know is that it did happen to her and now he needs to be punished for what he done. Lastly he confessed to a lot!! Acrually enough that he could be sentenced. Even though his attorney is saying that there is no physical evidence most victims don't have " evidence" especially when it happened for so long. I know at this point she is struggling to stay strong and she is strong!! What she wants at this point is justice and to show all of those other survivors that they can get through it and she wants to make the 6% that spend time in jail to be 100%
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 8, 2012 at 04:33 PM in reply to Anon
      I think you should be in jail to protect everyone from your lack of intelligence.
  • by J Location: not too far away on May 7, 2012 at 07:17 PM
    Hmmmmmm...hope all you people out there that labeled Shane a rapist are hungry because you're gonna be munching on your words. A person is INNOCENT until proven GUILTY and being proven GUILTY can't be done without sufficient evidence.
  • by blurbn Location: morgan co on Mar 16, 2012 at 09:31 AM
    A person is INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. Hope that the victim is getting good, professional counseling.
  • by jim Location: barlow on Mar 15, 2012 at 03:41 PM
    wow i know shane let the dust settle and the truth be heard and hope however this turns out all parties involved get the help they need prayers go out to all involved
  • by Hello Location: where ever on Mar 15, 2012 at 03:33 PM
    I think that all parties involved need to be prayed for. i think we as citizens need to look on our own door steps instead of labeling other.. In other words Grow up and clean off your front door before you start on someone elses.. If the man is guilty look at the many sex offenders living in your community that you don't know about.... If he is not guilty then you All should give him and his family and appology.
  • by RayRay Location: Pennsville on Mar 15, 2012 at 07:51 AM
    Reading all of these post, makes me sick. A fundraiser? REALLY. When it hit the public the whole county went crazy with it. I have heard more stories than I can count, I personally could not believe that charges was even brought forward on Mr. Shuster. It was a shock to me as well as it was to everyone else. Yes he is innocent until proven guilty. I would hate to see this happen to anyone or in anyones family. Instead of back lashimg, pointing fingers, convicting people, be thankful your family is not in this situation and pray that your family never has to go through something like this. Or better yet just pray that you're not picked to be on that jury, because I have sat on rape case juries and it's something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
  • by J Location: not too far away on Mar 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
    Perhaps EVERYONE should think before they speak and/or write. Who are you to pass judgment? You are NOT God..are you? It's amazing that soooooooo many people have Shane GUILTY as charged before he's even went to trial. He's INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY. Shane hasn't been convicted of anything. He has ONLY been arrested on an accusation. So, keep that in mind before you label him as a RAPIST. As for the entire situation...it's unfortunate. IF he is guilty of what he's been charged for, then Shane Shuster will accept his punishment holding his head high, remorseful for his actions BECAUSE that's the way he lived and that's the way he was raised. IF he's NOT GUILTY, then shame on each and every one of you that had him labeled too soon. He was an elected official, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would've elected him had they THOUGHT horrible things of him...or had doubts that he would represent the Stockport community in the best way possible. I grew up in that town...and I grew up with Shane. I'm very proud of him and the community in which I was raised. YOUR opinions are ONLY opinions...so remember that. Opinions based on FACTS go further than the ones that aren't. UNTIL you are chosen to sit on a jury to hear this case, perhaps YOU should remember it could be YOUR life and the lives of YOUR family members (ALL OF THEM) that's affected and forever changed by this entire incident. God bless.
    • reply
      by Matt on Mar 15, 2012 at 09:03 AM in reply to J
      Well J, I guess I wont have to worry about looking like a hobo in a mugshot since I dont go around "raping" family members.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:29 AM in reply to Matt
        Matt (and the rest of the narrow-minded people who think like Matt), Shane hasn't been found guilty of anything JUST yet...remember that. Maybe you look like a hobo without a mug shot...who would know. It doesn't matter either way. Go find more pictures of Shane...I guarantee they don't all look like his mug shot. Grow up idiot.
        • reply
          by Barbara on Apr 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM in reply to
          Tell that to George Zimmerman pal.
  • by Mother of 5 Location: Stockport on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM
    Reading this coverage and the comments posted, I have a few things to say. First NO we are not doing a fundraiser to help with his bond! Second, one person's actions does not say the entire community is a certain way. Third, I know this man, his family, his wife and her family all very well. He is usually a very nice person, and he grew up with one of the best families in this area. He is accused, not convicted. We are all keeping hushed lips because we do not know the entire story yet, but also we are trying to protect one of our children and Shane's family! That does not say we think he is innocent, also does not say we think he is guilty. This town is close and its not so and so's child its OUR CHILDREN, so for the time being the best place for him is in jail, that protects everyone! As for the victim she is a bright, beautiful, loving child that does not deserve any mistreatment and she is also not a known liar! Out town is in shock, no one thought anything like this of Shane but does not say it didn't happen! Also, his picture posted is not what he usually looks like! He is usually very clean and clean shaved, he was arrested at night after a day of work. Our little town will pull together again and we will survive this, but believe me when I say all our eyes are wide open now!! For the victim, I am sorry that something wonderful has been made ugly, not all men are this way! In time may God and loving support of family and friends help you heal, please always be yourself and continue to do great as you always have! As for his family all my love and prayers are with ALL of you! I am sorry for what you are going through. If he is guilty just remember we are not going to judge and blame you, we all know how he was raised. His actions are his and his alone! If he is innocent I am very sorry. As for now though I am reserving my right to form a final opinion of all of this, with God's help may JUSTICE PREVAIL!
    • reply
      by J on Mar 14, 2012 at 08:01 PM in reply to Mother of 5
      You'll NEVER know the eintre story because it wasn't YOUR life or your situation. Keeping quiet would be the best choice for everyone, but being humans doesn't make that possible for any of us. We all ride the fence because of disbelief. We pray it's not true...for many, many reaons; however, even your post is a bit contradictory. Shane Shuster's character isn't defined by this accusation or by his mug shot. Perhaps people should try to not be so narrow minded. Also, in regards to the young lady that is referred to as the victim, people need to remember that NOT ONLY has her life changed forever, but so has a lot of other people's lives. She may be bright, beautiful, loving and honest; however, nobody comes out a winner in a situation like this...and THIS incident causes a lot of hurtfulness and heartache. There's a lot of mean statements being made and a lot of poor judgment being displayed. My ONLY question for you is this: Are you really praying for ALL of the family members involved? If so, don't let the praying stop there...you better pray for this entire community and county because there's a lot of people that could use a prayer.
  • by Sprout Location: Stockport on Mar 13, 2012 at 02:42 PM
    Well this is just sick, really a fundraiser to get a rapist out on bond. Some of these people in this town just kill me with the things that they say, trying to be funny. It's not funny this is a very serious matter that has taken place right here in OUR community. People in this town amaze me, and some just scare the ever living day lights out of me. Lord have mercy on our community, because we are lacking and need you in a BIG way.
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