A hearing in the case of Molly Shattuck, the former Ravens cheerleader accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, is scheduled for Wednesday in Georgetown, Del.
Shattuck, 47, faces nine criminal charges, including third-degree rape, for allegedly performing oral sex on the boy in a Bethany Beach rental property last summer while her three children were sleeping. She has pleaded not guilty.
Attorneys for Shattuck, the former wife of Exelon Corp. chairman Mayo A. Shattuck, and prosecutors are scheduled to appear for a case review before Judge Richard Stokes in the Sussex County courthouse, according to Joseph Rogalsky, a spokesman for the Delaware attorney general's office.
The hearing will allow both sides to present information and evidence. Neither Shattuck nor her attorneys, Eugene Maurer and Michelle N. Lipkowitz, have responded to repeated requests for comment in recent weeks.
Some area legal experts said sex-assault cases pitting the defendant's word against the victim's are difficult to prove. They also said defendants face not only the possibility of prison but also the "scarlet letter" of sex-offender status.
The socialite, who lives in North Baltimore, has kept a low profile since a Delaware grand jury indicted her in November; she resigned from her posts with charitable organizations and took down her fitness website, Vibrant Living.
Shattuck is accused of striking up a flirtation with the boy through Instagram in May, then sending him provocative messages, according to court documents.
The boy told police that Shattuck would pick him up during his lunch breaks from a summer class and that the two would "make out" in the back seat of her Cadillac Escalade. Shattuck would drive him to the parking lot of the T. Rowe Price building in Owings Mills, near the McDonogh School, where both the alleged victim and Shattuck's oldest son are students, according to the documents.
Shattuck invited the boy to join her and her children and their friends at a rented beach house in Bethany Beach over Labor Day weekend, according to the documents. She gave the boy wine and beer, then pulled him away from the other teenagers by saying he needed to go to bed, the documents allege.
She then brought the boy to her bedroom, stripped down to her underwear and performed oral sex on him, according to the documents. She invited him to have sexual intercourse, documents say, but he decided to leave.
The indictment charged Shattuck with two counts of third-degree rape, which carries a potential sentence of two to 25 years in prison for each count; four counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree, which carry a penalty of up to three years in prison; and three counts of providing alcohol to a minor, which carry a fine of $100 to $500 and could lead to an order of community service or imprisonment of up to 60 days.
Shattuck pleaded innocent to the charges in November and was released on $84,000 bond. Maurer said at the time that she was "quite distraught."
One possible outcome at this stage would be a plea agreement, according to Delaware defense attorney Tom Foley, who is not involved in the case — but he said it would be unusual.
"You're still in the first or second inning of the ballgame," at a case review, he said. "All the lawyer work happens between the first case review and the trial date."
Local defense experts who are not involved in Shattuck's case said a plea deal could sentence a defendant to a lesser penalty than if she were found guilty at trial.
However, they said, the terms of a plea bargain in such a case would likely mean a requirement to register as a sex offender.
"It would certainly brand her with a scarlet letter that would be nearly impossible to remove," said Baltimore defense attorney Steven D. Silverman.
Being labeled a sex offender could bar Shattuck from attending events at her children's schools, said defense attorney and former prosecutor Andrew I. Alperstein.
"Sex offender registration laws put a lot of pressure on defendants" who are weighing whether to take a plea deal and end up on the offender list or fight the charges in court, Alperstein said.
Much depends on the evidence of the case.
For instance, Silverman said, cases that rely on pitting one person's testimony against another are "very defensible."
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