TOWSON, Maryland (WJZ) – Baltimore County Police Officer Anthony Westerman was sentenced to house arrest on Friday for the rape of a 22-year-old woman in 2017, authorities said.
Westerman, 27, was convicted in August of two counts of second degree rape, one count of third degree sex offense, one count of fourth degree sex offense and one count of count of second-degree assault, according to an online court records search.
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At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer combined the sentences for all five counts, saying he had never intended to convict Westerman as one count of second degree rape. He sentenced Westerman to 15 years behind bars but suspended all but four years of house arrest.
Judge also sentenced Westerman to one day in jail for second-degree assault of second victim for what he called a “rude” act, according to Baltimore County State Attorney’s Office . He was also ordered to serve probation after serving his sentence.
Prior to handing down Westerman’s sentence, Judge Truffer said there was no evidence of psychological harm to the rape victim, despite the victim’s indication that she had been in therapy since the attack and the judge’s previous statements that the incident “could be the most traumatic time” of his life.
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The judge ruled that Westerman should be released into house arrest pending appeal of his sentences.
Speaking to WJZ-TV on Monday, Baltimore County State Attorney Scott Shellenberger said his office expected a harsher sentence. “By withdrawing one of the charges and failing to find that there was psychological harm, the judge lowered the guidelines,” he wrote in an email. “Nonetheless, the benchmark sentence should have been a sentence of 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment.”
The county’s senior prosecutor said he did not think house arrest was an appropriate sentence and expressed concern about the message he is sending to other survivors of sexual assault. “I’m afraid this will make rape victims hesitate to report their crimes if they don’t think they will get justice,” he said.
Westerman was suspended without pay from the Baltimore County Police Department after the police department learned of his charges in December 2019. His job status was not immediately clear on Monday.
According to court records reviewed by WJZ, Westerman and a 22-year-old woman had been drinking at a bar in October 2017 when the officer called a carpool to take them home. The intoxicated victim said she had passed out. When she woke up, she said, Westerman forced himself on her.
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In a separate incident nearly two years later, Westerman led a woman to a secluded part of a Baltimore County bar, placed his hand on her waist and began kissing her without permission, WJZ reported.