Ex-Coach Accused of Assault Skips Court Date

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The Philadelphia Inquirer


Police in Bucks County were searching Monday for a former youth football coach who skipped a court hearing on rape and sexual assault charges.

Shannon Westmore-land, 48, who is accused of assaulting at least three minors over several years, failed to show up for jury selection for his criminal trial and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest, said Assistant District Attorney Kristin McElroy. His bail in the case was revoked, and he was charged with default of appearance.

"We want the community to know that we are actively searching for Mr. Westmoreland, and we look forward to the day we bring him to justice," McElroy said.

Paul Lang, Westmore-land's attorney, declined to comment at length about the case.

"I hope he's OK," Lang said of his client, "and I would urge him to return to Bucks County so we can defend his innocence."

Westmoreland, who also goes by the first name Shawn, was arrested in June in the assaults, which prosecutors say occurred over more than a decade. He was charged with rape, statutory sexual assault, and related offenses.

He formerly lived in Bensalem, but moved to Chester County, where local police were assisting in the search for him Monday.

Investigators have said Westmoreland was a coach with the Bensalem Ramblers Athletic Association at the time of at least one of the attacks. It's unclear whether any of the victims was connected to the association.

Police say Westmore-land assaulted a 15-year-old girl in 2005, when he coached for the association. He assaulted another girl over several years, police said, when she was between the ages of 4 and 9 or 10. Police didn't say in what years those attacks took place. He first assaulted the third victim when she was a 6-year-old in 1999, and again in 2011 when she was 18, police said.

Anyone with information on Westmoreland's whereabouts is asked to call 911.

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October 23, 2018


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