Former Baltimore County police officer convicted of raping 22-year-old woman sentenced to home detention
A 27-year-old former Baltimore County police officer who was convicted of second-degree rape and assault in August will be allowed to serve his four-year sentence at home, according to prosecutors. A judge sentenced Anthony Westerman on Friday to 15 years in prison but suspended all of the sentence except for four years in home detention, the Baltimore County state's attorney said in a statement.
Westerman was convicted in August of two counts of second-degree rape, third-degree sexual offense, fourth-degree sexual offense and two counts of second-degree assault for incidents from 2017 and 2019 with two separate women, according to the statement. At Friday's sentencing hearing, the judge withdrew one of the rape convictions, the state's attorney said. Westerman, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, is appealing the convictions.
Westerman was suspended without pay from the Baltimore County Police Department after he was charged in 2019, a spokesperson for the department confirmed to CBS News, adding that he was fired on Monday.
"This criminal investigation, initiated by the Baltimore County Police Department, is an example of our commitment to holding individuals responsible for their actions," Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said in a statement to CBS News.
The first incident happened in 2017 when Westerman and a 22-year-old woman were among a group drinking at a bar. According to an arrest warrant, the victim had consumed "a large amount of alcohol" and passed out in her car. Westerman and a friend of the victim woke her up and Westerman offered to order an Uber to take them back to the friend's home.
According to the warrant, both the victim and her friend had fallen asleep during the Uber ride, which they shared with Westerman and one of his male friends, and when they woke up, they were at Westerman's residence. While inside, the victim fell asleep on the couch while Westerman, his friend and the victim's friend watched a movie. The two friends eventually left the room when Westerman put on a pornographic movie.
The next thing the victim remembered, according to the warrant, "was being in the middle of the couch and she was on her back" with Westerman on top of her. Her pants had been removed, and then he raped her, saying that he "liked it when she pushed at him and when she told him to stop and get off," according to the warrant. The victim then passed out and she and her friend left when she awoke, according to the warrant.
In 2019, a 20-year-old woman who considered Westerman "to be her big brother" accused him of raping her, according to the arrest warrant. Westerman was acquitted of those charges, according to the Baltimore Sun.
About two weeks after the 2019 incident, a third woman accused Westerman of repeatedly trying to kiss her at a bar. That incident led to his other assault conviction.
Westerman's attorney, Brian Thompson, said in a statement to CBS News that Westerman and his family are "relieved that the judge did the right thing by not sending him to prison while the appeal is pending."
"Officer Westerman maintains his innocence," Thompson said. "We believe that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence and that he will ultimately be exonerated."
At Friday's sentencing, Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer said there was no evidence of any psychological injury to the rape victim, despite her indicating she received therapy following the incident and the judge saying at the time of the verdict that the incident "may be the most traumatic moment of" her life, Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said in a statement Monday.
Shellenberger told CBS News in a statement Tuesday that the home detention sentence "was not what we expected or were asking for."
Shellenberger said the state had been seeking a sentence within Maryland's sentencing guidelines and the withdrawal of one of the rape convictions and not finding psychological injury to the victim affected Westerman's sentence.
"Nonetheless, the guideline sentence should have been an imposed sentence of 5 to 10 years imprisonment," Shellenberger said. "I do not believe that in this particular case that home detention is an appropriate sentence."
Shellenberger also said that "a police officer should know as well or better than others the reprehensibility" of the acts committed.
"I fear this could cause rape victims to hesitate to report their crimes if they do not feel like they will get justice," he said.
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