LIMA — A 46-year-old man who had sex with a female more than 30 years his junior escaped prison time when he was sentenced Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Douglas Shurelds was sentenced by Judge David Cheney to three years of probation and 120 days in the county jail on a third-degree felony charge of unlawful sex with a minor.
Shurelds had pleaded guilty to that count last month in exchange for the dismissal of a charge of sexual battery. He faced a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.
According to the grand jury indictment, Shruelds from approximately July 1 through Aug. 1 of last year “did engage in sexual conduct with another person … when the offender did know the other person was 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age.”
The young woman in this case was 15 years old, the judge said during Thursday’s hearing. Shurelds told the judge that alcohol contributed to his poor decision-making.
“I can’t change what happened. I’ve never done anything like this in my 46 years and I just want to say I’m sorry,” Shurelds said. “I apologize to my family and ask the court for sympathy.”
The defendant’s attorney, Ken Rexford, said Shurelds, who has 10 children ranging in age from adults to infants, has taken responsibility for his actions.
“He believes that when you own your failures, you own them in front of your community and your family. He’s horribly embarrassed and ashamed,” Rexford said of his client.
Cheney said he was “speechless” at the disparity of the ages of Shurelds and his young victim. “Society just can’t tolerate that,” the judge said.
The judge, in bypassing a prison sentence in favor of community controls, ordered Shurelds to complete a sex offender program and to have no contact with the victim or her family.
He was labeled a Tier I sex offender and, as such, will be required to register with authorities annually for the next 15 years.