Lawrence man gets 27-month suspended sentence for abusing female KU student he met on Tinder
A man convicted of hurting a college student he met on Tinder will serve probation, with possible prison time in the event of violating it, and must write an apology letter to his victim.
Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny on Thursday sentenced Shane Allen, 31, to a suspended sentence of 27 months in prison but granted him two years of probation, meaning he’ll go to prison if he violates his probation and has it revoked.
Pokorny also ordered Allen to think about his actions for a couple of weeks then write a letter apologizing to the victim, who said he held her against her will and beat her repeatedly over a six-day period.
“We all have a bubble of safety that is around us, but once that bubble is pierced you never, ever feel safe in your environment again,” the judge told Allen. “I just want you to think about how you have changed her entire perception of life and safety.”
The 20-year-old victim, who is still a student at the University of Kansas, read an impact statement at Allen’s sentencing.
The experience made her see the “evils” around her, she has nightmares about the attack, and family and friends now regard her as a victim instead of the person she was before, she said. She said she struggles, emotionally, to get out of bed each morning.
“When I wake up I have to remind myself that he won’t be able to find me and hurt me again,” she said.
She added, “I also desperately want my life back.”
photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Allen pleaded no contest earlier this month to two counts of aggravated battery, which is a felony. As a part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed other charges; previously Allen faced one felony charge of kidnapping, four felony charges of battery and one charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The charges stemmed from an incident in April of this year. According to an arrest affidavit filed at the time, the woman told police:
She met Allen on Tinder, a social media dating application, and they had spent time together once before the attack. On a Tuesday afternoon Allen picked her up at her sorority house and took her to his trailer home, where she worked on a school assignment, two of Allen’s male friends came over, and the woman and one friend smoked marijuana.
Later Allen accused the woman of flirting with the friend, punched her in the eye, knocked her to the ground and beat her. When she asked him to take her home, he refused, saying she could not return until her face healed. He choked, struck and kicked her over the course of nearly a week and at one point pointed a knife at her and also threatened to kill himself. Several times Allen forced her to message her friends on Facebook, telling them she was OK and would be home in a few days.
On the following Sunday Allen agreed to take her home, after she assured him she would not contact police.
She immediately went to the hospital, where investigators said she had two black eyes, bruises and swelling on her head, face, neck and body, scrapes and abrasions to her legs and feet, according to the arrest affidavit in the case. Allen was arrested four days later.
Senior assistant district attorney Eve Kemple said Thursday that Allen’s sentence was per the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines for the combination of his criminal history, the severity of the victim’s injuries and the charges he ultimately was convicted of after the plea agreement. She said the victim understood and approved of the agreement and the sentencing.
Allen has not been in prison in Kansas and has not been convicted of any felonies in Douglas County, according to Department of Corrections and court records.
Pokorny told Allen he had the right to have his conviction expunged five years after serving his sentence.
As terms of his probation, Allen must receive substance abuse treatment, refrain from drugs and alcohol, submit to random drug tests, take all medications as prescribed and have no contact with the victim, Pokorny said. He also must follow through with the treatment plan developed as part of his mental health evaluation.
Kemple did not state any diagnoses Allen may have been given, but asked the judge to order the mental health treatment plan instead of a domestic violence treatment plan.
“The defendant obtained a very thorough mental health evaluation,” Kemple said. “The parties believe that this is going to be more important to deal with the underlying issues than the domestic violence plan.”
The judge declared Allen indigent and waived his court fees. Allen’s attorney, Julia Butler, noted that he had been in jail since April, had no savings and would be moving in with family once released.