TACOMA, WA – Today, Terry Wayne Shepard, 62, was sentenced to more than 24 years to life in prison. In June, a jury found Shepard guilty of one count of attempted rape in the second degree and two counts of indecent liberties in the second degree for attempting to have sex with an autistic, non-verbal adult client inside Rainier State School.
The case was handled by Elder Abuse Team Chief Sven Nelson. He argued for, and the court imposed, an exceptional sentence.
“Our Elder Abuse team is a leader in the state for protecting vulnerable adults,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Protecting the most vulnerable among us is a top priority.”
On November 13, 2017, Buckley Police were dispatched to the Rainier State School in Buckley in response to a report of a male staff member having sex with a female adult client at the school. The school is a habilitation center for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Police spoke with Hunter Shear, an attendant counselor at the facility. She told police Terry Shepard is her supervisor. Ms. Shear was trying to find Shepard to ask him if she could go on a break. Shear said she found Shepard in a client's room.
The client is M.S., 57, a non-verbal autistic adult with an estimated mental age of eight. Ms. Shear said when she arrived at M.S.'s room, she saw Shepard with his back to the door and his pants and underwear down around his knees. Ms. Shear said Shepard had M.S.'s legs pinned up to her chest and was making back and forth movements like he was having sex with her. M.S. was on the bed on her back. Ms. Shear said she startled Shepard when coming in the room and he turned around to face her with his genitals exposed.
Lindquist formed his specialized Elder Abuse Unit in 2011. Three years ago, the unit won an award of nearly $400,000.00 from the Department of Justice for a comprehensive approach to prosecuting and preventing the abuse of vulnerable adults.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].