Sex Offender's Light Sentence to Be Appealed

Article excerpt

Westmoreland County prosecutors will appeal a lenient sentence given earlier this month to a convicted sex offender who was granted work-release despite protests from the victim.

William J. Shockley, 36, was sentenced Jan. 5 by Judge Debra Pezze to 11 1/2 to 23 months in the county prison for burglary but was given five years' probation for sexually assaulting a 29-year- old Greensburg woman in 2007. He can leave the jail daily to work as a cook at Rizzo's Malabar Inn in Crabtree, according to court records and District Attorney John Peck.

Shockley was ordered to register with state police as a sex offender and to undergo drug and alcohol evaluation.

Peck said he will appeal to state Superior Court, arguing that Shockley's sentence falls below state sentencing guidelines that call for 48 to 66 months in prison.

In 2007, there were only three cases out of 3,080 in the state in which judges sentenced offenders to lesser sentences than those prescribed in the guidelines, according to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.

Shockley rejected a plea bargain of five to 10 years in prison, Peck said.

"It was a violent crime and the sentence was outside the guidelines established for such a crime," Peck said.

Shockley broke into the woman's Greensburg residence on Sept. 21, 2007. He dragged her upstairs by her hair and tried to rape her. When she resisted, he forced her to perform a sex act. Shockley was charged with attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, false imprisonment, terroristic threats, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property.

Shockley threatened to kill the woman if she called police, according to court records. In December 2007, Shockley called the victim and asked her if she was going to drop the charges. When she said no, he told her, "I will see you tonight." He was charged with intimidating a witness. Court records show the charges were withdrawn. …