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Jimmy Shea Sentenced To Two Years Probation

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Park City resident and Olympic gold medalist Jimmy Shea pled guilty in Third District Court Thursday on two counts of sexual misconduct.

Shea was sentenced by Judge Richard Mrazik to two years of probation.    

Before his sentencing, Shea declined to make a statement to the court, except to say, “No grandstanding for me.”

Under the plea agreement, the 53-year-old Shea admitted that he abused a young female he knew on two occasions last year.    He pled to two counts of sexual battery, which are Class A misdemeanors.  

Under the agreement, a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a First Degree Felony, was dropped.

For each count of Sexual Battery, the judge sentenced Shea to 364 days in jail, then suspended the jail time.

Shea’s defense attorney, Rudy Bautista, said the outcome of the case was “extremely favorable” for his client.           

“We always have proclaimed that he was completely innocent of the Aggravated Sex Abuse of a Child charge, that that was ridiculous and it was part of a ploy of retaliation and manipulation in another court battle against him.”

According to the statute, sexual battery involves intentionally touching the private parts of a child that the offender knew,, or should have known, would likely cause alarm to the person touched.

Bautista said that, despite its name, it is not a sex offense.    He said that Shea took responsibility for the two occasions when he improperly touched the victim.        

“It didn’t even occur to him that it would cause her alarm or affront.  But obviously that’s been a lesson on him taught by this.  He had no problem taking responsibility for doing that because he did do it, and he understands that he need to be more cognizant of what might cause alarm or affront.  But it was never intended to be any kind of a sex offense or anything of that element.”

He said it was evident that the prosecution had a weak case.       

“They dismissed a First Degree Felony, with a mandatory prison sentence and a lifetime sex-registration requirement, in exchange for two Class A misdemeanors with no jail and no supervised probations.  So this is definitely a win for the defense, even though it would have been better to have had a complete acquittal.  Nevertheless, when you’re facing a first-degree felony, all the legal scholars and practitioners will always advise their clients to take a misdemeanor in exchange for having a mandatory prison sentence dismissed.  You have to take into account the risk of a trial.  And while we had a great case, there was always a risk that a jury might see it a different way.”

He said that Shea will be on court probation, which means he isn’t supervised by an officer.    Shea must have no contact with the victim, and must undergo a psychosexual evaluation, which Bautista said is pretty standard in a criminal case.

He said if Shea is not convicted of any other crimes in the two years, the case will be dismissed.

However, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson told KPCW that Bautista is mistaken.    She said the agreement doesn't allow for such a dismissal, which is called a "plea in abeyance."

Olson also said that the prosecution, the child and the child’s parent were satisfied  with the outcome.

The County Attorney added that when he was sentenced and given the opportunity to speak, Shea did not apologize to the young victim.

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