After receiving multiple charges of rape and sexual assault, victims were relieved when their rapist was finally convicted. However, their comfort soon turned to shock when the judge sentenced the man to just one day in jail and home detention.
Anthony Westerman, 27, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree rape, one count of a third-degree sexual offense, one count of a fourth-degree sexual offense, and one count of second-degree assault for the sexual abuse of two women, WJZ reports. Despite facing over a decade in prison, Westerman was released immediately after sentencing to the comfort of his Maryland home.
The former Baltimore County police officer was sentenced following a harrowing conviction on multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. Unfortunately, Westerman’s victims won’t be receiving justice since the judge presiding over the case did everything in his power to keep the felon from stepping foot in prison.
At the sentencing hearing, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer withdrew one of the rape convictions before combining the sentences for the additional counts, leaving Westerman to serve 15 years in prison. However, the judge imposed a suspended sentence, deciding that the rapist should serve just four years of home detention.
As shocking as the ruling was, Judge Truffer added insult to injury when he announced that he would give Westerman just one day in jail for the sexual assault of the second woman. The judge seemed to justify the inadequate punishment by trivializing the abuse as a “boorish” act. Disturbingly, the reason behind the judge’s decision was even more appalling.
In a statement to the court, Judge Truffer explained that he based his decision on the notion that there is no evidence that the rape victim was psychologically harmed by the act. Bizarrely, he appeared to ignore the fact that the victim was in therapy since the attack. The judge had also previously acknowledged that the rape “may be the most traumatic moment” of her life.
Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger expressed his disdain for the judge’s lenient sentencing, arguing that Westerman should’ve received a minimum of five years behind bars.
“By the Judge taking away one of the counts and not finding that there was a psychological injury, it lowered the guidelines,” he wrote in an email. “Nonetheless the guideline sentence should have been an imposed sentence of 5 to 10 years imprisonment. I fear this could cause rape victims to hesitate to report their crimes if they do not feel like they will get justice.”
The first sexual assault occurred after Westerman and a 22-year-old woman had been drinking at a bar when the off-duty officer called a rideshare service, WBAL-TV reports. Instead of taking her home, the victim says Westerman took them both to his home. She then claims she fell unconscious and later awoke to find Westerman having sex with her.
Westerman’s attorney insisted that the punishment was more than sufficient and accused the rape victim of having consensual sex with his client. He added that Westerman is not only dissatisfied with the sentence but also that he intends to appeal the conviction.
The judge recognized that there was enough evidence to convict Westerman of rape and sexual assault but claims there wasn’t enough evidence to support giving him an appropriate prison sentence. Instead, Westerman will serve his punishment from the comfort of his own home.
The sentence not only fails to bring justice to Westerman’s victims but discourages other victims from coming forward and seeking justice. The only hope for his victims is that his appeal results in a harsher sentence.