TOWANDA — Waverly resident Justin Shaw, a former drama club director at the Athens and Sayre school districts, was sentenced Thursday to six to 23 months in the Bradford County Correctional Facility for institutional sexual assault.
According to Bradford County District Attorney Dan Barrett, that sentence will be followed by a 48-month probation period. Violations of probation terms would result in reincarceration.
Additionally, Shaw will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) for 25 years.
Barrett explained that Judge Evan Williams said the sentence was consistent with the pre-sentence report and recommendations of the county probation office and sentencing guidelines as recommended by the state.
Shaw entered a guilty plea in October to two felony offenses, which were merged into a single third-degree felony.
“The court also considered an impact statement from the victim, who had described very emotional pain from the experience,” Barrett said. “Shaw expressed remorse to the court and said he had made bad decisions.”
Shaw’s attorney brought in letters from a number of friends and supporters, all but one were women, Barrett said, but they expressed high regard for Shaw’s generous spirit and shock that he had committed these offenses.
Shaw was transferred from the court room to the county correctional facility to begin serving his sentence, Barrett said.
Shaw was given 15 days credit as time served after his arrest, Barrett said.
He could potentially apply for probation as soon as late May.
Shaw was originally charged by Pennsylvania State Police with six counts of institutional sexual assault, two counts of unlawful contact with minors and one count of corruption of minors — all grade-three felonies. He was also charged with four counts of corruption of minors, a grade-one misdemeanor; six counts of indecent assault, a grade-two misdemeanor; and three counts of harassment, a grade-three misdemeanor.
Police said the incidents occurred at various times last year at different locations, including his home in Waverly, a Sayre business and Shaw’s performing arts academy in Athens Borough.
According to police, interviews with approximately four victims aged 15 to 17 began after troopers were notified by an Athens Area Schools District official of possible inappropriate conduct committed by Shaw.
In two of those interviews, the male victims related to troopers that they would hang out with Shaw and, in some cases, stay over at Shaw’s residence or his business for the night. Shaw would also guilt the victims into hanging out with him by threatening to hurt himself, said police.
On several occasions, Shaw made sexual comments towards the victims and inappropriately touched one of them on multiple occasions, as well as forced one of the victims to touch him inappropriately.