|Michael Shane Shuster|
A southeastern Ohio village mayor suspected of repeatedly raping a 10-year-old girl and 30 other sex crimes has pleaded not guilty and is being held on bond of $1 million.
Stockport Mayor Michael Shane Shuster is charged with 10 counts each of rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition. He pleaded not guilty in a Morgan County court on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Mark Howdyshell says the charges are linked to 10 incidents of alleged sexual contact that began when the girl, a family member, was 10 or 11 and continued for five years. She is now 16.
The victim allegedly confided in a friend, who told a school official who reported the attacks to children's services, according to 10TV.com.
'We just don't want things like this happening to our children,' Howdyshell said.
Shuster, who faces a possible life sentence if convicted, remains in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail outside Nelsonville.
Rolf Baumgartel, the 38-year-old's attorney, said he thought the bond should be lower because Shuster, who was elected in November last year, was not a flight risk, according to the Athens Messenger.
'I just think it's unfortunate that the bond is set as high as it is,' Baumgartel told the Marietta Times.
'All that does is make it difficult for him to defend himself. We disagree with the state's contention that he is a flight risk. He is a lifetime member of Morgan County.'
'I don't think anybody can argue that this guy is a danger or a menace to the community,' he added.
- Wow, and this coming from the mans attorney? If this were my attorney and I heard this, he'd then be fired because clearly his mind is already made up and he is not defending his client, unless I am misunderstanding something?
A trial date for the case has been set for May 24 with a second day scheduled on May 25.
An interim mayor has been put in place to serve the village of roughly 500 people, which is about 70 miles southeast of Columbus.