Saturday, February 12, 2011
Lawrence, MA police officer sent away for 10-12 years for raping mother of two on duty
Defense attorney John Morris asked Welch to impose a 3- to 5-year prison sentence, pointing to the many letters of support Sledge's extended family had written on his behalf to Welch. Morris read a letter in court from Kevin Sledge Jr., Sledge's 21-year-old son, who is a sophomore in college. Sledge Jr. described his father as his best friend and a person who loves him unconditionally. He also said he was disappointed by his dad's choices. "I cannot imagine what my life would be like without him. He taught me to be a hard worker ... to never quit," Sledge Jr. wrote. "I am proud to call him my dad."
Morris also said Sledge suffers from congestive heart failure, a condition he was diagnosed with in August. In addition to heart valve and blood flow problems, Sledge also has a herniated disk in his back and nerve damage that resulted from a cruiser accident he was involved in as a police officer, Morris said.
Judge Welsh told the victim, "You displayed remarkable courage when you testified...Hopefully you can build on that." Shawn Sledge, 40, the perpetrator's nephew, said "[The sentence is] somewhat harsh ... I do understand the judge's comments that he was a police officer and a protector of the law. I understand the decision he made, even though I don't think it's the right one."