Monday, October 12, 2009

Gail Shefelbine - Enabling Mother of Sexual Predator - Sentenced for Lying

The mother of a sex offender from Tolland has admitted that she lied during a court hearing two years ago as she tried to keep her son from being sent to jail.

Gail Shefelbine, 67, pleaded guilty to a single count of perjury at Superior Court and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. She had initially faced nine counts of perjury.

Shefelbine was arrested in November 2008 after an inspector in the Tolland state's attorney's office found evidence that she had lied and tried to fabricate evidence during a July 2007 hearing in which the state sought to revoke Scott Shefelbine's bail and send him to jail.
Scott Shefelbine, who's serving a 20-year sentence for sexually assaulting five girls, aged 14 to 18, was free on $1.5 million bail at the time and was being electronically monitored while his case was pending. A judge also ordered that he not leave his parents' Mountain Springs Road home except for medical and legal appointments and church.
Evidence presented at the July 2007 bail hearing showed that Shefelbine had left his parents' home on several occasions, including to visit with young girls, and that he and his family sought to explain those absences from the home by saying that he was attending church.

Gail Shefelbine pleaded guilty Sept. 24 to a felony count of perjury for lying about her son's whereabouts on the evening of Easter Sunday 2007. She testified that they were at St. Maurice Church in Bolton. "They had an evening service," Gail Shefelbine testified at the hearing. "Very few people had an evening service."

Gail Shefelbine was lying, inspector Bart Zamichiei said. The Rev. William Olesic, the church's pastor for two decades, told Zamichiei that St. Maurice had no Mass on Easter Sunday night in 2007.
Zamichiei also uncovered evidence that in the weeks leading up to that July hearing, Gail Shefelbine, sometimes with her son, appeared at churches and asked for church bulletins from several months earlier and for church officials to sign them. Those bulletins were then submitted as evidence at the hearing that she and her son had attended services.
Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr., who heard the case, found the testimony of Shefelbine, her husband, David, and daughter Cindy Cooney of South Windsor "lacking in credibility" and ordered Scott Shefelbine jailed.

As part of the plea bargain, Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth C. Leaming arranged with the Department of Correction to allow Gail Shefelbine to continue to visit her son in prison. People with felony convictions are often barred from visiting inmates.

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