May 14, 2013 | 01:38 PMELKHORN — "Shane McKinley is a predator," Judge John Race said before sending the former Williams Bay JV basketball coach to prison for 10 years.
After serving 10 years in prison, the 28-year-old will spend another five years on extended supervision. McKinley also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
During an emotional hearing, two girls talked about having a sexual relationship with McKinley when they were underage.
The girls said McKinley was verbally abusive and manipulative during the relationship and would threaten to commit suicide when he didn't get his way. Race said McKinley used his good looks and his position of authority to take advantage of the young girls.
"He groomed these girls," Race said. "He groomed them knowing full well what his intentions were."
The case against McKinley began in December 2011, and the Delavan police department has been investigating McKinley's relationships with underage girls ever since.
"This is a 26-year-old man in a position of trust exploiting a 15-year-old girl," Race said. Race said it was necessary to send McKinley to prison to protect the public. "I believe he would go on to continue to groom 15-year-old girls," Race said.
In March, McKinley pleaded guilty to a felony charge of repeated sexual assault of a child. As part of the plea agreement, five charged counts of possession of child pornography were dismissed, and 18 charges of possession of child pornography and three counts of sexual assault of a child were never filed. Two girls who McKinley had a relationship with spoke during the hearing.
Victim 1 was a 15-year-old girl when the assaults began and played on the JV basketball squad that McKinley coached.
Victim 2 is now 19 and a college student, but the assaults allegedly occurred when she was underage. Police discovered Victim 2 after finding nude images of her on McKinley's cell phone. After months of investigating, the Delavan police were able to locate and identify the second victim.
"Detectives (Joaquin) Alonzo and (Tim) Bilskey did a very nice job in working on this, they put a lot of time into it," Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube said.
Asking for a maximum sentence
"I wish I had an inkling," Victim 1's mother said during the hearing. "I always thought you were odd and I never really liked you."
Victim 1's mother called McKinley a self-centered, manipulating psychopath.
"Men don't have sex with children," she said.
Both of Victim 1's parents said the case, including the media coverage, has caused emotional turmoil in their lives.
"Her life shattered like a greenhouse in a hurricane," Victim 1's mother said.
"If there is something I could offer to God to erase this event I would," Victim 1's father said.
Victim 1's father asked the judge for the maximum sentence of 25 years initial confinement. This way he would be released from prison when he is in his 50s.
"A man in his 50s approaching teenage girls will be immediately seen for what he is — a pervert," Victim 1's father said.
He said a lengthy sentence was also necessary to protect other children from McKinley.
"I ask that you sentence him not only to punish him, I ask that you sentence him to protect the other 15-year-old girls he wishes to molest," Victim 1's father said.
Grube asked for a lengthy prison sentence, but didn't make a specific recommendation to the judge.
How he groomed his victims
McKinley met Victim 1 when she was a freshman in high school.
He took a special interest in Victim 1, and sent her text messages and messages on Facebook. However, he also showed a temper and when he didn't get his way he would threaten to commit suicide.
One night McKinley made suicidal threats and the next day he came to basketball practice with bandages on his wrist, Victim 1 said.
McKinley also took a photograph of an engagement ring, and he emailed the picture to the girl with a promise that they would get married when she turned 18.
"In its simplest form, he became her coach and he groomed her," Grube said. "This case is all about manipulation."
When the court proceedings with Victim 1 were occurring, McKinley was sending Facebook messages to Victim 2 urging her to visit him in Texas. At that point, the girl was over 18, but his relationship with her began when she was a child.
"I convinced myself that it was OK because he convinced me that it was OK," she said.
Victim 2 said McKinley had tied her down and taken nude photographs of her when she was underage.
He also would send her repeated text messages and when she didn't respond he started text messaging her sister asking why she wasn't responding.
One night, McKinley and Victim 2 spent the night in the same home and Victim 2 slept by a fireplace. When she woke up, she saw McKinley sent her a text message that stated she looked beautiful sleeping.
In the text message McKinley also wrote that he couldn't help but touch the girl's hair and skin while she was asleep.
"No girl his age would like him," Victim 2 said.
The third girl
During the hearing, Grube said McKinley was in the process of grooming a third 15-year-old girl.
When police checked McKinley's Facebook page, McKinley posted that he was considering moving to Texas. A 15-year-old responded that she didn't want to see her boyfriend leave.
Police investigated the relationship that McKinley had with that girl, and discovered sexual messages in which McKinley talked to the child about sex and asked her to send pictures of her naked.
Dr. Melissa Westndorf, a clinical and forensic psychologist, evaluated McKinley in February and found that he had a "low to a low-moderate risk to reoffend."
She said McKinely suffers from depression and has some characteristics of borderline personality disorder.
However, she was careful not to say he has borderline personality disorder.
Westndorf said McKinley also isn't considered "sexually deviant by actuarial purposes."
During a cross-examination, Grube asked Westndorf how much she was paid to perform her evaluation. She responded $3,500, but said her payment didn't influence her diagnoses.
McKinley's attorney Jeff Koepke asked Race to place McKinley on a period of probation. He asked that a prison sentence be imposed and stayed, which means McKinley would only serve the sentence if he violated the terms of his probation.
Koepke said that McKinley, according to Westndorf's diagnoses, is not sexually deviant nor a pedophile.
"He is immature and has bad judgement," Koepke said.
Koepke said McKinley has a good work history, and volunteers with numerous charitable organizations. He also read a letter of apology that McKinley had written to his family and Victim 1.
McKinley cried several times throughout the hearing and also shed tears as his attorney read his statement. When given a chance to speak, McKinley's voice was shaky, and he again apologized.
"I'm deeply sorry for everyone who is involved, and I hope to be able to find the treatment to help me move on and deal with everything that has happened," McKinley said.
After Race announced the sentence, McKinley was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the courtroom.
He will likely spend four to six weeks in the Walworth County jail before he is transported to the Dodge Correctional Institution, Waupun.
All male inmates are first sent to the Dodge Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison, where they are processed. After about a month, McKinley will likely be transported to another state prison.
Race said McKinley had a good life as a child.
"He lived in one of the best communities in Walworth County," Race said.
McKinley graduated from Badger High School in 2003 and was on the prom court. He also was on the golf team.
He grew up in a gated community with private golf courses, Race said.
Now, for the next 10 years, McKinley will live in a different kind of gated community.