When most women who rape child get sentenced, they receive a handful of years at best. Most of them will never serve the full sentence. Most will get out within a couple of months or within a year. Shannon Alicia Schmieder was not so lucky:
Shannon Alicia Schmieder, a former Coweta County teacher assistant charged with having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male child, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, to serve 20, after pleading guilty Monday to two counts of child molestation, according to Coweta Judicial Circuit Senior Assistant District Kevin McMurry.
Coweta Superior Court Judge Jack Kirby imposed the sentence on the recommendation of the DA’s office. McMurry was lead prosecutor on the case.
The state of Georgia has very strict sentences against child molestation. When I was negotiating this sentence, I treated her like I would a male perpetrator.
We believe that children deserve to be protected. This woman groomed and enticed a young boy she knew from birth to engage in these sexual acts. I crafted the sentence to take these things into account.
We want to send a message that this will not be tolerated. I actually reduced the charge from aggravated child molestation – which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years – to child molestation – with a maximum of 20 years – but wanted to ensure she would still receive a harsh sentence which recognized the life-long impact and damage done to this child.
Children are important and they deserve to be protected. She abused her position and the trust bestowed on her from the family and she had to be punished for this.
While I do not support mandatory minimums, I do applaud the prosecutor’s willingness to treat this case as he would any case with a man. Schmieder befriended the family and acted as a mother figure for the boy. She abused and betrayed that trust, and that should not be taken lightly just because of her sex.
One thing I do find a little odd is how the boy’s mother seemed to focus only on her feelings. While it is possible that the newspaper edited her comments to focus on her, it is also possible that she only spoke about how she is dealing with this. In these kinds of situations that way of thinking is quite revealing. If this woman is that self-centered, that could have helped Schmieder in grooming the woman’s son. If he has a mother who is more concerned about herself, a predator like Schmieder can easily move in and give the boy the attention he craves.
Many people who prey on children look for situations like that. They look for inattentive or self-interested parents. They look for families where one child is left to fend for himself. They look for kids craving love and attention. It is impossible to avoid all of this, but in many cases simply being aware of the relationships your child has with people helps.
In this case it appears that the mother was at least aware of her son’s behavior because that is what prompted her to look into the situation. If more parents did that, more cases of sexual abuse could be caught.