Jackson County man sentenced in child sex abuse case

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A man convicted of sexually abusing children learned his fate Wednesday in Jackson County Court.

38-year-old Shane Westbrook of Parma was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison.

Tara Sassenger spoke at the sentencing for Westbrook, saying he ruined her life.

“He ruined my childhood. He ruined my self-worth and my self-respect,” Sassenger said.

She’s one of three victims Westbrook is convicted of sexually abusing when they were young girls between 1999 and 2005.

Sassenger says Westbrook put her through immense torture.

“He would tell me that no one would ever believe me. And when I did try to talk about it, no one would believe a child over an adult,” Sassenger said.

Last year, Westbrook was charged with nine counts of criminal sexual conduct.

“I know I am innocent of what’s been charged against me,” Westbrook said in court.

But a jury didn’t think so and found him guilty last month.

“I am going to sentence you to 25-50 years in prison,” said Judge John McBain.

After coming forward to tell her story, Sassenger spoke with 6 News and says she’s happy with the sentence.

“I’m glad he’s getting what he deserves, and he’s going to spend at least the next 25 years back there,” Sassenger said. “I don’t think he feels anything. I think it was all a show. He had zero remorse for me or anyone else.”

During her victim impact statement, Sassenger repeatedly called Westbrook a monster.

And says she’s still dealing with this trauma as an adult.

“Monster is being nice,” Sassenger said.

As court adjourned, Westbrook’s attorney told the judge that they plan on appealing this sentence.

 

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