Friday, June 21, 2024

Ashland Man Locked Up in Schuylkill County Prison on Incest, Sexual Assault, Rape Charges

An Ashland man, already on the Megan's Law Registry, is locked up in Schuylkill County Prison facing charges of sexual assault, rape, and incest.

On Friday morning, John Shutt, 47, of Ashland, was taken into custody at his place of employment after a month-long investigation into accusations that he sexually assaulted a family member.

Shutt was charged by Ashland Police Chief Ger Daley and Schuylkill County Detective Thomas Robin with 2 counts of felony rape, 2 counts of indecent sexual assault by force, 3 counts of statutory sexual assault, 4 counts of indecent sexual assault (less than 16 years old), 1 count of endangering the welfare of children, 1 count of indecent exposure, 1 count of criminal use of a communications facility, 1 count of corruption of minors, 1 count of incest of a minor, 2 counts of sexual abuse of a child involving possession of a child pornography.

The investigation began on May 14th, 2024 when Chief Daley received a report of sexual assault of a minor.

Chief Daley spoke with the 15-year-old victim that said Shutt had been sexually assaulting her fora few months.  The victim was able to provide police with inappropriate text messages that had been sent to her by Shutt.

The 15-year-old was immediately transferred into emergency custody to Schuylkill County Children and Youth.

On May 14th, Chief Daley applied for a search warrant to seize Shutt's cell phone.  Later that day, the Pennsylvania State Police pulled over Shutt on High Ridge Park Road in Cass Township where his cell phone was seized.

Shutt voluntarily went to the Ashland Police Station later that day for questioning.  Shutt acknowledged sending the inappropriate texts, stating it was an accident, but denied any other allegations

The following day, Chief Daley applied and was granted a search warrant of Shutt's cell phone.  Within the phone he found several inappropriate text messages he sent to the victim that were sexual and threatening in nature.

The phone would later be transferred to the Berks County Forensics Unit for data extraction.

On June 13th, 2024, a forensics interview was conducted with the victim at the UPMC Child Advocacy Center in Harrisburg with Schuylkill County Detective Tom Robin present.

The victim reported that things started to become inappropriate in November of 2023, which began as conversations and began to escalate.    The incidents included Shutt sexually assaulting her and taking pictures of the teen naked.  The naked photos of the teen would be found on Shutt's confiscated phone.

Upon the completion of the investigation, Chief Daley applied for an arrest warrant.

Upon being taken into custody on Friday, Shutt was transported by Ashland Police to Magisterial District Judge Edward Tarantelli's office for arraignment.

Judge Tarantelli set bail at $300,000 straight cash and remanded Shutt to Schuylkill County Prison.

Shutt is also on the Pennsylvania Megan's Law Registry for Aggravated Sexual Assault.  His name was added to the Megan's Law Registry in 2005.