Whitewater teen sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting girl

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Andrea Anderson
Monday, February 17, 2014

ELKHORN — Lee Shelton looked at Walworth County Judge David Reddy with tears in his eyes.

He told the judge he has held his 19-year-old son, Samuel, as the teen cried about the crimes he committed and how he wants to change.

“I want to do right, Daddy,” Shelton remembers his son telling him.

Samuel Shelton, 19, of W6150 Kettle Moraine Drive, Whitewater, is one of three men connected to Whitewater's Kettle Moraine Baptist Church who were charged and convicted in a little more than a year of sexually assaulting young girls and boys.

Shelton was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years extended supervision. He will spend the rest of his life on the sex offender registry.

Shelton was charged in 2013 with three counts of repeated sexual assault of a child. He pleaded guilty to one of the felony charges as part of an agreement that saw the other two counts dismissed but read in.

Between summer of 2010 and winter of 2013, Shelton had sexual relationships with four girls, all of them 13 or younger, attorneys said Monday. He met the children through the Kettle Moraine Baptist Church or his family was friends with the girls' families, attorneys said.

Shelton is the last of three men connected to Kettle Moraine Baptist Church sentenced for sexually assaulting children.

Dennis Rintala, 53, sexually assaulted two young boys he met through the church, from the winter of 2011 through the summer of 2012, according to court documents. Both boys were younger than 13.

On Dec. 10, 2012, Rintala pleaded guilty in Jefferson County Court to one count of repeated sexual assault of a child. He was sentenced by judges in Walworth and Jefferson counties to a total of 20 years in prison.

Matthew Vander Pluym, 19, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to one count of first-degree child sexual assault for touching a preteen girl he knew, court records show. Vander Pluym was given a stayed jail sentence and five years probation.

Shelton told authorities he assaulted one of the four girls “about two times a week” at the Kettle Moraine Baptist Academy, a small religious elementary, middle and high school run out of the church.

Shelton also assaulted the girls at their homes, his home and at Camp Joy, a Baptist youth camp where Rintala worked, attorneys said.

One victim told authorities she was “messed up by (Shelton's) charm” at Camp Joy in 2010.

Phillip Yowell, Anchor Bible Church pastor, said he has had private counseling sessions with Shelton in the past year and Shelton has regularly attended Bible study at the church.

When Yowell began working with Shelton, he assumed Shelton's remorse and regret for his actions would “eventually wear off,” but Shelton has been “even more responsive and grown in maturity," he said.

He said the prison sentence requested by Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube would not help with the “restoration” Shelton could experience by staying in the community and receiving support from the community members, his family, and church.

Shelton's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Travis Schwantes, requested a stayed prison sentence, 12 months jail, life on the sex offender registry, and 10 years probation.

“That's accountability. That's punishment,” Schwantes said.

With the rules and regulations of probation, Shelton would live a life “nothing like his life has been," Schwantes said.

Grube countered with excerpts from letters written by parents describing Shelton as a “cunning, manipulative liar” who “deceived us into thinking our children were safe” with him.

One mother said the impact on her daughter is not yet apparent.

“The toll will continue to play out for our daughter in the years and years to come,” she said.

Before Reddy made his decision, Shelton apologized to the families for what he did.

“I know what I did was wrong. … I'm ready to face the consequences, whatever they be,” Shelton said.

Last updated: 3:50 pm Monday, February 17, 2014

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