As the family of a 10-year-old victim realized 16 sexual abuse charges were being dismissed in a Jasper County courtroom last week, tears began rolling down their stunned faces. As disbelief turned to anger, an emotional fight for justice began.
Despite his own admissions to the crimes, 42-year-old Shawn D. Cooper was deemed incompetent to stand trial and walked out of the Jasper County Courthouse a free man. Two independent medical evaluations showed Cooper lacked the required competency to stand trial in the State of Iowa, and he was released Jan. 29. Although Cooper’s sister, Tanya Revell, reported him to police, she now says Cooper is mentally unfit but harmless. His neighbors in Newton aren’t buying it and want to see Cooper locked up.
Part I: Jasper County Attorney Mike Jacobsen said he’s exploring a civil commitment process in the case against Cooper. Under Iowa Code Chapter 229A, Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators, Jacobsen said the law provides a provision for sexually violent offenders who present a danger to the public to be involuntarily committed in an attempt to rehabilitate those individuals. In an email to Newton Daily News, Jacobsen said he’s been in contact with the state’s assistant attorney general regarding the process.