Posted by: joshjasper | December 22, 2010

Say Again?

Please know that I am fighting back my anger as I write this.  The front page of today’s Telegraph Herald reads “Oswald sentenced to 5 years in prison.”  This article is referring to Shane Oswald, the former Hempstead High School Assistant Principal who was arrested this past January for sexually abusing a 17-year-old student that involved alcohol and hydrocodone.

To begin, I applaud both the Dubuque Assistant County Attorney Chris Corken and Judge Monica Ackley for making every effort to hold Shane accountable for his reprehensible actions.  Shane received the maximum sentence after entering an Alford Plea (guilty plea) to one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

Before receiving his five-year prison sentence, Shane shared the following in court to the survivor and her family: “I stand here humble and contrite.  I have lost my job.  I did live in a beautiful home with a loving wife and spectacular family.  Now I live with my parents.”  Shane later shared: “I went from a world of options and hope to a world of despair and fear.”  Say again?  Did you actually state that YOU are now living in fear?  I’m confused….where am I?

Am I supposed to feel bad about your current situation?  Should I be concerned about whether or not you lost your job and are now living in a “world of fear”?  How do you think the young girl that you abused, took advantage of, and provided alcohol and drugs to feels?  I can only imagine what raced through her mind while hearing these words come from your mouth.

And how about state of Iowa?  Referring to Shane’s actions as “sexual exploitation by a school employee” rather than sexual abuse is ridiculous, and quite frankly, irresponsible.  I’m the director of a rape crisis and domestic abuse center and I struggle with understanding the meaning of the aforementioned charge.

In order to affect real change in our community concerning violence, we need to stop watering down, minimizing, and burying the epidemic that is sexual abuse and call it what it is.  I understand why this is something we don’t want to admit happens here, but it’s work that must be done.  We owe it to the young woman who was abused by Shane and for the THOUSANDS of girls, boys, women, and men that are sexually abused in our community to do more…much more.



  1. The issue of pretense and the creation of euphemism is a secondary assault. Your feeling, your sense of justice is exact and appropriate.

  2. Well said Tim. Thanks for the thought.

  3. So many people in our community are in positions that grant them the opportunity to be a positive role model for those around them, as well as an influence on younger members of our society. So it angers me when they use the power their position affords them to control and manipulate those around them.

    I applaud Judge Ackley for using her prestige and power to speak on behalf of the victim and her family, or more realistically, the victims and their families. Kuddos to her for handing down the maximum penalty and not giving him a slap on the wrist.

  4. Great points Dawn. It was very nice to see Judge Ackley’s and Chris Corken’s comments in the paper today regarding this case.

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