Man pleads guilty to attempted child molestation in El Mirage

A former El Mirage resident has pleaded guilty to sex charges resulting from a child-molestation investigation that was launched by authorities there nearly a year ago.

Cristipher Lawrence Shafer, 34, now a Chandler resident, will face an array of sentencing options when he is sentenced Dec. 14 in Superior Court.

Shafer pleaded guilty Sept. 26 to two counts of attempted child molestation. The pleas were part of a deal that was struck with prosecutors allowing the possibility of probation.

He was arrested Feb. 8 after Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies launched a probe in mid-December into alleged sexual misconduct involving a boy and girl, both 7, dating from 2003.

Brent Whiting

Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Repeat Sex Offender Sentenced

Sentencing was held Friday for a man who is a career criminal.

Tommy Thompson served time in prison for murder.

After his release he molested a child and was sentenced to more prison time.

After his second release he moved to Montgomery where he molested yet another child.

Montgomery police charged Tommy Thompson with the rape of a five-year-old Montgomery girl after she told her family he tried to have sex with her.

However, before Thompson was supposed to go on trial last month, he cut a deal with prosecutors; he’d plead guilty to sex abuse and take an eightteen year sentence to avoid trial.

The girl’s family is upset because Thompson could have gotten life in prison.

Despite that anger, however, Judge Charles Price upheld the plea deal today.

Chris Holmes
Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Repeat Sex Offender Sentenced

Sentencing was held Friday for a man who is a career criminal.

Tommy Thompson served time in prison for murder.

After his release he molested a child and was sentenced to more prison time.

After his second release he moved to Montgomery where he molested yet another child.

Montgomery police charged Tommy Thompson with the rape of a five-year-old Montgomery girl after she told her family he tried to have sex with her.

However, before Thompson was supposed to go on trial last month, he cut a deal with prosecutors; he’d plead guilty to sex abuse and take an eightteen year sentence to avoid trial.

The girl’s family is upset because Thompson could have gotten life in prison.

Despite that anger, however, Judge Charles Price upheld the plea deal today.

Chris Holmes
Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

No freedom for pedophile

Although his prison sentence has ended, a man who suffocated a 3-year-old girl as he raped her in 1962 will remain in state custody.

A judge ruled Thursday that Gary Welsh, 68, would be a danger if allowed to walk free.

Welsh was convicted in 1973 of the Harvard murder for shoving the girl’s face into a pillow to silence her screams while he raped her, prosecutors said.

“It was not a quiet, simple act. It was bloody. It was loud,” Joelle Marasco, an assistant Illinois attorney general, said at the close of the three-day bench trial Thursday. “He used a lot of force to hold her down.”

The judge’s ruling will require Welsh to indefinitely remain in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services, where he will be offered mental-health treatment. But he could be back in a courtroom in less than a year, asking again to be freed.

Prosecutors petitioned for Welsh to remain incarcerated under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

Under the act, defendants convicted of sexually violent crimes are evaluated at the end of their sentences to determine whether they are likely to repeat the offense. If so, prosecutors could request that they remain in custody for treatment.

McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Richard Behof acknowledged that the crime was gruesome, but said Welsh had changed in the 45 years that he had been incarcerated.

“I know this is an unpopular case. I know it is going to be an unpopular decision, but I would ask the court to deny this petition,” Behof said. “They haven’t shown you anything since 1962 that shows he’s a danger.”

A psychologist who testified for Welsh said Thursday that he didn’t believe Welsh still was mentally ill and had a low risk of repeating the offense, despite two doctors put on the stand by the state who said the opposite.

Judge Sharon Prather sided with prosecutors after hearing testimony from several doctors.

“The state has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Prather said.

Welsh was sentenced to 60 to 100 years in prison for the crime he committed while baby sitting the child in Harvard. He was paroled in 2005. He then went into the custody of Human Services while prosecutors began the legal process of declaring him sexually violent.

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Welsh suffers from pedophilia, alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder and mental retardation.

Leading up to the murder, Welsh had a history of sexually deviant behavior, which included raping his sister and abusing his cousin in his early teens, a doctor who evaluated Welsh testified.

Published in: on November 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm  Leave a Comment