A Baltimore County police officer in Maryland was charged with rape and another assault on life imprisonment after a judge found no “mental injury” in one case, lawyers said Monday.
Baltimore County District Judge Keith Truffer sentenced him to four years in prison and ordered an official Anthony Westerman to serve at home, NBB’s affiliate WBAL said.
Baltimore County Attorney Scott Shellenberger told NBC News that the sentence was “inappropriate” for a police officer who “should know better or better than others about a conviction.”
“I am concerned that this could make victims reluctant to report their crimes if they do not feel they are getting justice,” he said.
Westerman, who did not plead guilty to second-degree rape, second-degree assault, and other criminal charges, was convicted in August, according to the federal registry.
He was arrested in 2019 when two women accused him of rape. In one case in 2017, the woman said that after drinking heavily, Westerman offered to arrange for Uber to drive home. He told the management about the past and forcibly dragged him home.
He was acquitted of a second sentence, the Baltimore Sun reported, and was charged with forcibly kissing a third woman.
The public prosecutor sought Westerman’s imprisonment for five to ten years, but received a lesser sentence if the judge dropped the rape charge in the second instance and pleaded guilty. The victim suffered a mental injury, Shellenberger said.
In a statement to WBAL, prosecutors challenged the finding, arguing that the judge himself described “perhaps the most disturbing moment in her life” and indicated that she was undergoing treatment.
Westerman’s lawyer Brian Thompson said in an email that his partner had been “silenced” because a judge had ordered him to be kept at home.
“We believe the decision was contrary to the weight of the scriptures,” he said. “That’s what he said, he said that’s why everyone got drunk.”
Thompson added that he intends to appeal the sentence.
Westerman, who joined the department in 2013 and was granted unpaid parole after the charge, was fired after the sentence, a spokesman for the department said.
In a statement, police officer Melissa Hyatt described the department’s own investigation into Westerman as “an example of our responsibility to hold individuals accountable for their actions”.