Aurora man gets life in prison for child sex incidents

by KYLE MCDONALD | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published:

Ravenna -- A 79-year-old Aurora man and Bainbridge doctor was sentenced to life in prison and labeled a Tier 3 sex offender after pleading guilty July 19 to kidnapping with sexual motivation before Judge John Enlow in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

Dr. Mark Shaffer Jr. of Aurora was arrested Nov. 28, 2012, as the result of a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigation of alleged child pornography distribution, which led investigators to obtain a search warrant of his home.

Pornographic videos of children were allegedly found in the residence. In interviews, Shaffer told investigators he had sexually abused children for several years, according to Aurora police. He will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison.

"I thought Nov. 28 was the worst and most horrific day of my life. Today is," Shaffer said before receiving his sentence. "I am a totally broken man and full of remorse ...

"I am going to beg for mercy from God and you and your court, your honor, but whatever sentence I receive, I will serve it with whatever dignity I have left."

Shaffer initially faced a 24-count indictment from a Portage County grand jury, which included two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping, all first-degree felonies, 11 counts of gross sexual imposition, all third-degree felonies, and 10 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, all fourth-degree felonies.

According to his indictment, Shaffer admitted to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy between June and August 2008. Other incidents allegedly involved an underage female victim, who was between the ages of 5 and 9 when she was sexually abused by Shaffer between November 1996 and November 2000.

"There are times, and certainly in my case, lifelong negative consequences of what it feels like to awaken in terror in the middle of the night from an abuse-related nightmare, shaking and crying from memories of events that occurred decades ago or the horror of being temporarily locked into the past through experience of an abuse-related flash of suffering as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder," said a victim of several years ago, reading a victim impact statement.

Shaffer's wife, Jeri Shaffer, said that despite her husband's confession and charges, "he has been a loving father and husband."

"This 10-year mandatory sentence for a man who is 80 years old and poses no threat to society and his family is essentially a death sentence," she said. "I believe that a tragic miscarriage of the American system of justice has occurred through the prosecutor of Portage County by demanding this mandatory sentence of 10 years to life in prison."

Attorney Steve Michniak of the county prosecutor's office extended his thanks to the U.S. Postal Inspector Service for its investigation, which led to the sentence.

"If it wasn't for that investigation and the work that they did," he said, "we'd have never uncovered these years of abuse."

Email: kmcdonald@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4156

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