A two-time child molester will spend the next 15 to 20 years in prison under a sentence handed down Tuesday.
Douglas County District Judge Joseph Troia sentenced Harold Shipley Jr. to 30 to 40 years in prison – a term that is cut in half under state sentencing guidelines.
The 51-year-old Shipley had pleaded no contest to attempted sexual assault of a child for contact he had with a 7-year-old neighbor girl. He faced up to 50 years in prison – or 25 years real time.
Prosecutor Molly Keane, a deputy Douglas County attorney, had urged the judge to give Shipley the maximum term.
“I can't imagine how frightening it was to this 7-year-old girl,” Keane said.
Troia noted Shipley's “tendencies.” The 7-year-old girl told Project Harmony investigators that Shipley had twice sexually abused her, the judge said.
Shipley served a two-year prison term in the late 1990s for having sexual contact with a 4-year-old boy.
Assistant Public Defender Brenda Leuck said her client was born out of an affair his mother had with another man, was the victim of abuse as a child and was raised in a dysfunctional home.
Leuck also said Shipley suffers from heart problems; he suffered a heart attack while in jail on this case.
In a plea bargain, prosecutors reduced the charge from sexual assault of a child, in part to spare the victim a trial.
Leuck said the plea bargain also was reached because of problems the victim had in relaying the events during depositions.
Had he been convicted of his original charge as a repeat offender, Shipley would have faced a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum life term.