Athens serial rapist sentenced to 40 years prison

Staff Report

ATHENS — An Athens County man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of sexual assault cases over the past 11 years.

Shawn J. Lawson, Jr., 26, of Athens, Ohio, appeared before Judge George P. McCarthy on Tuesday to change his plea in the case.

Lawson Jr. was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

According to Prosecutor Keller J. Blackburn in a news release from his office, Lawson, Jr. became known as the Athens Serial Rapist prior to his indictment in case number 17CR0183 for three counts of kidnapping, felonies of the first degree; three counts of felonious assault, felonies of the second degree; attempted rape, a felony of the second degree; two counts of rape, felonies of the first degree; and two counts of aggravated burglary, felonies of the first degree.

After Lawson Jr. was accused of sexually assaulting a female in Lancaster, Ohio, in March of 2017, his DNA was obtained and sent to BCI. BCI was able to match Lawson Jr. to three sexual assaults investigations that were previously linked in Athens County, Ohio, thus leading to his indictment on the charges.

Lawson, Jr. was further charged by way of a bill of information for the Lancaster rape as part of a continuing course of conduct.

While it is believed that Lawson, Jr. has committed other sexual assaults, according to the news release, contact has been made with victims of outstanding investigations and many of them have expressed their wishes not to testify at trial and are in agreement with this sentence.

Lawson, Jr. will spend the next 40 years of his life in prison, and hopefully, this time will allow all of his victims time to heal, stated the release.

These cases were investigated by the Athens Police Department, Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio University Police Department, Athens County Major Crimes Unit, Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, BCI&I and the Lancaster Police Department. We would also like to thank the Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Information provided by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Staff Report