State Watch

Prosecutor says home detention for police officer convicted of rape ‘not appropriate’

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A Baltimore County judge sentenced a police officer convicted of second-degree rape to home detention after determining that there was no “evidence of any psychological injury” to the victim, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Anthony Westerman, 27, was convicted in August of two counts of second-degree rape, third- and fourth-degree sexual offense, and second-degree assault of a 22-year-old woman in October 2017. 

Westerman was separately convicted of second-degree assault of another woman in June 2019. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

Circuit Judge Keith Truffer, however, suspended his sentence, with the exception of four years of home detention for the conviction stemming from the 2017 assault. 

Truffer determined at the sentencing that there was no “evidence of any psychological injury to the victim” despite the fact that she received therapy following the incident, according to The Washington Post.

The judge also sentenced Westerman to one day in jail for the 2019 assault, which he called a “boorish” act, the Post said.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome,” Scott Shellenberger, the state’s attorney for Baltimore County, told the Sun. “I do not believe when you’re convicted of second-degree rape that home detention is appropriate and I certainly don’t believe only four years on this kind of crime is appropriate.”

Brian Thompson, Westerman’s defense attorney, told the Sun that prosecutors didn’t enter evidence regarding the victim’s trauma to the court.

Thompson added that the judge’s sentencing remarks were largely focused on Westerman’s lack of previous criminal convictions. 

In a statement to The Hill, Thompson said that Westerman and his family are relieved that the judge “did the right thing by not sending him to prison.”

“We believe that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. This was a ‘he said, she said’ case in which everyone was intoxicated. The alleged victim waited over two years to report this to the police,” Thompson said.

“The claim that she was unconscious is not true. She admitted under oath that she was not only conscious, but that she engaged in sexual acts that are highly inconsistent with a non-consensual encounter. We intend to appeal this conviction and we will not rest until Officer Westerman’s name is cleared,” he added.

Shellenberger also told NBC News that the sentence was “not appropriate” for a police officer, who “should know as well or better than others the reprehensibility of such an act.”

“I fear this could cause rape victims to hesitate to report their crimes if they do not feel like they will get justice,” he said. 

The Baltimore state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. 

Westerman was first arrested in 2019 after two women accused him of rape. One of the women said Westerman offered to arrange an Uber ride home for her from a bar where she had been drinking. 

The victim later told authorities that she passed out and regained consciousness while being raped by Westerman at his house. He was acquitted of all charges in the second rape case. 

It is not clear whether Westerman is still a police officer. He was suspended without pay from the Baltimore County Police Department when he was charged, according to NBC.

—Updated at 6:49 p.m.

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