UPDATE: Fmr. Stockport Mayor Sentenced On Rape Charges

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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