Sentencing postponed for Shamokin man charged with sexual assault
SUNBURY - Debate over whether a 34-year-old Shamokin man charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Coal Township is required to register with state police as a sexual offender for 15 years upon his release from prison prompted a county judge to postpone sentencing the defendant Monday afternoon.
Shortly after President Judge Robert B. Sacavage sentenced Shaine M. Wyland, of 692 Bear Valley Ave., to 15 to 30 months in state prison on a felony offense of endangering the welfare of a child and misdemeanor of corruption of minors, First Assistant District Attorney Ann Targonski told the judge the defendant will be required to register with state police as a sexual offender for 15 years upon his release from prison in accordance with the Adam Walsh Act that was passed into law last month.
Even though Wyland was charged and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of corruption of minors, Targonski explained that registration provisions under the new law, which is retroactive to Wyland's case and others, require defendants charged with misdemeanors of corruption of minors to register as sexual offenders upon their release from prison.
But Wyland's attorney, Scott McIntosh of Royersford in Montgomery County, argued the grading and sentencing requirements of the corruption charge shouldn't change despite the new law, and that his client shouldn't be required to register as a sexual offender.
After several minutes of debate, Sacavage said, "This is a precedent in my court. We are going to get this right and reschedule sentencing."
Although it won't affect Wyland's jail sentence, Sacavage said he wanted to be certain the defendant is not prejudiced in any way and that he properly instructs Wyland of all his requirements before sentencing him.
Up to 30 months
The judge instructed Targonski to file legal briefs within five days that support her argument pertaining to the Adam Walsh Act. After her briefs are filed, McIntosh will have 10 days to respond with his argument.
A new sentencing date has been set for Feb. 25.
Prior to the sentence being continued, Sacavage had ordered Wyland to serve 15 to 30 months in state prison for endangering the welfare of a child. He also received a concurrent sentence of 9 to 24 months on the corruption of minors charge, which merges with the felony offense for sentencing purposes.
McIntosh asked the judge if his client could serve his sentence in county prison instead of state prison. But Sacavage denied the request because of the seriousness of the charges and overcrowded conditions at the county jail.
The judge also ordered Wyland to pay a total of $500 in fines plus costs of prosecution and other fees, and to avoid all contact with anyone under the age of 18, with the exception of his 16-year-old son, unless approved by supervisory authority.
Sacavage gave Wyland credit for 131 days previously served in Northumberland County Prison.
McIntosh called three members of Wyland's family to testify on his behalf Monday. They asked the judge for leniency because they claimed the defendant was very remorseful for his alleged crimes. They said Wyland has taken responsibility for his actions since the alleged incident, which they claim has drastically changed his life.
Wyland told the court he was deeply sorry for his actions that have adversely affected his life and hurt the victim.
On Nov. 19, Wyland pleaded guilty to the charges before Sacavage, who reduced the defendant's bail from $200,000 cash to $20,000. Wyland was eventually able to post his bail and was released from prison.
Targonski objected to the bail reduction, but the judge agreed with McIntosh that Wyland was not a flight risk and would attend his sentencing.
Sacavage, who ordered a pre-sentence investigation in the case after the guilty plea, instructed Wyland to avoid all contact with the victim.
Additional felonies of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and aggravated indecent assault will not be prosecuted at sentencing.