Victim’s Family Can’t Believe that Admitted Child Sex Abuser Won’t Face Charges

NEWTON, Iowa  --  A Jasper County family is outraged at the news they heard from their County Attorney.

A Newton who had confessed to committing sex acts on a young girl is being set free ... all charges against him dropped.

"I can`t believe they could take 16 counts of a class b felony and just dismiss him," says Sarah Bradbury, the 10-year-old victim's aunt.

42-year-old Shawn Cooper of Newton pleaded guilty to 16 charges of sexual abuse but Monday he was released from jail without being sentenced.  The reason: the court found him incompetent to stand trial.

"Something you don`t think is possible when somebody admits in detail to doing something to a little girl to just get dismissed and walk away without even being on the sex offender list," Bradbury says, "It`s just sickening to know he did so many things yet he`s still more important because he is mentally ill."

Bradbury thinks Cooper was set free because of a flaw in Iowa`s judicial system.  "It raises the question: how many times has this been done, how many times has somebody walked free from admitting such guilt just because they`re mentally incompetent? ...  This 10 year old girl has to live knowing that he`s more important and it`s not fair to her."

In a statement Jasper County Attorney Michael Jacobsen writes:

"The members of the Jasper County Attorney's Office are disappointed that we cannot continue the criminal prosecution of Shawn David Cooper at this time. We are working with the Iowa Attorney General's Office to investigate the option of initiating civil commitment proceeding pursuant to Iowa Code."

Shawn Cooper's brother, Dustin, was also accused of abusing the girl.  He pleaded guilty to five counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse.  He will be sentenced on February 12th.