Admitted sex offender gets more time after mix-up

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man will serve an extra 12 years in prison after admitting he sexually assaulted two young girls — settling two cases filed against him four years ago.

Shawn Adams, 26, of Greenfield, pleaded guilty Tuesday to four sexual-assault felonies filed against him locally in 2013 after two teenage girls came forward and told Greenfield Police Department detectives Adams forced them to have sex with him on separate occasions, according to court records.

But Adams made his first court appearance locally in 2017 only after prosecutors realized he’d been taken to prison to serve time in an unrelated Madison County case without ever answering to the accusations against him in Hancock County.

It’s was a mistake that goes against an Indiana Department of Correction practice of having defendants settle all pending cases, across the state, before they are booked into a prison facility, officials said.

This ensures an inmate isn’t carted from county to county for regular court appearances while also serving time, officials said.

Deputy prosecutor Cathy Wilson said local officials were never able to determine how Adams’ Hancock County cases were overlooked.

The girls’ accusations resulted in two criminal cases being filed against Adams in Hancock County in June 2013, one in Hancock Circuit Court and one in Hancock County Superior Court 1.

Warrants that were issued in both cases remained pending until August — four years after the charges were filed locally — when local judges ordered Adams be brought back from the state’s New Castle Correctional Facility to answer to the accusations, records show.

He had been taken to prison in October 2013 after pleading guilty to armed robbery in Madison County. He’s since been serving time on the six-year prison sentence he’d received there.

Tuesday, Adams pleaded guilty as charged in each of his old Hancock County cases.

Adams was ordered to serve a 12-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to one Class B felony count in Hancock County Superior Court 1; and he was ordered to serve a nine-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to three Class C felony counts filed against him in Hancock Circuit Court.

Adams will serve those two sentences concurrent to one another, meaning he’ll be locked up for a total 12 years.

The 12-year sentence will be added onto the prison sentences Adams is currently serving in an armed robbery case out of Madison County.

His earliest possible release date is now in May of 2029, records show.

While sentencing Adams on Tuesday afternoon, Hancock Circuit Court Judge Scott Sirk said Adams will be 37 years old when he’s released from prison, that he’ll have a lot of life left to live.

Sirk questioned the defendant about his plans for the future, and Adams responded that he didn’t have any.

“The world’s going to change so much in another decade,” Adams told the judge, shrugging as he spoke.

In response, Sirk encouraged Adams to use his time in prison to better himself and set goals for the rest of his life.

That’s part of the difference between being a man and boy, Sirk told the defendant: boys do whatever they want, with no concern for others or their community; men make sacrifices and try to better themselves and others, he said.

“You need to rise up and be what you were supposed to be,” Sirk said. “You need to treat other with the respect they deserve.”

Wilson told the judge Adams’ victims were supportive of the plea agreement that was reached.

Once he’s released from prison in 2029, Adams will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years. He’ll also be on probation in Madison County for eight years as part of his armed robbery sentence.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or