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No pattern in penalties for sex offenses involving minors

Having been indicted last week for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old boy, Molly Shattuck, the 47-year-old former Ravens cheerleader, faces potential prison time should she be convicted. How much, if any, remains to be seen.

Indicted by a Delaware grand jury on two counts of rape in the third degree and four counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree, Shattuck, the estranged wife of former Constellation CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III, theoretically faces up to 62 years in jail. (She also was charged with three counts of providing alcohol to minors, which carries a maximum of 60 days in jail.)

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She has pleaded not guilty.

A review of some Maryland cases involving adults charged with sex offenses against minors shows no clear pattern of punishment — understandable given the different circumstances surrounding each case. Here is a sampling of penalties:

Shawn Nowlin, then 27, was arrested in November 2012 on charges of second-degree rape and sex abuse of a minor, among other offenses, after impregnating a 15-year-old girl from Harford County. Nowlin was working as a counselor at a Baltimore City school at the time, having misrepresented his credentials for such work. He was found guilty of the sex abuse charge, court records show, and given a 25-year jail sentence with 13 years of it suspended.

A Howard County teacher, Kirsten Ann Kinley, then 27, was found guilty in August 2007 of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old student and received a three-year sentence, with half the time suspended.

Melissa Lynn Kozimor, then 27, was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old boy in November 2006 and giving alcohol to two girls, aged 13 and 14. According to documents, Kozimor took the boy, who was a runaway, to her house and they drank vodka and had sex. The Westminster mother of three received five years' probation.

In September 2001, Kimberly L. Merson, 25, a Carroll County substitute teacher who had admitted to having inappropriate sexual contact with nine teenage boys, was sentenced to five years in jail, with all but 18 months suspended. The prosecutor said she had "groomed" the boys by sending flirtatious notes and hugging them before ultimately drawing them into sex.

Shattuck was charged with two counts of third-degree rape, which carries a potential sentence of two to 25 years in prison on each count; four counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree, with a penalty of up to three years in prison, and three counts of providing alcohol to a minor, which carries a fine of $100 to $500 and could lead to an order of community service or imprisonment of up to 60 days.

Howard County police said Wednesday that an alleged incident outside of a Columbia movie theater was not reported to authorities at the time. They are investigating the allegations, said a police spokeswoman.

Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said his office had "reviewed the facts and the circumstances of the allegations" but was deferring prosecution due to the "seriousness of the allegations in Delaware."

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