A 22-year-old man who pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting a Holabird Middle School student in a school bathroom was sentenced to life Wednesday by Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge John G. Turnbull II.
Sean Schleigh, who was homeless at the time of the December 2010 assault and attempted sexual assault, received the sentence with all but 20 years suspended.
The state had requested a life sentence with all but 40 years suspended, while the defense requested a term of seven to 13 years, Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger told Dundalk Patch on Wednesday.
"Our office thought 40 years was an appropriate sentence," Shellenberger said. "The defense asked for seven to 13 years, which is within the sentencing guidelines, so the judge did impose a sentence over the recommended guidelines—so we think that's a good sentence."
Because he received a life sentence, the remainder of that time will hang over Schleigh's head while he serves five years of probation after being released from prison, according to Shellenberger.
"If he screws up in that time, the courts can impose the rest of the sentence," he said.
The state considers a life sentence to be 60 years, so Schleigh could be given an additional 40 years should he violate his terms of probation.
Schleigh attacked a 12-year-old boy in a bathroom at Holabird Middle on Dec. 16, 2010.
He asked the boy to show him his private parts, and when the boy refused, Scheligh started punching and kicking the boy and attempted to drag him into a bathroom stall, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The boy was able to cry for help, which drew the attention of school employees who came to his aid, the Sun reported.
A Baltimore County school resource officer assigned to the school caught and arrested Schleigh on the scene, according to the Sun.
Schleigh admitted it was his intention to have sex with boy, according to a press release from the state's attorney's office.
Shellenberger said Schleigh will be eligible for parole, but the guidelines for any early release would be determined by the state parole commission.
A prisoner typically serves about half of a sentence before being eligible to apply for parole, without any guarantee of it being granted, according to Shellenberger.
Schleigh will also be required to register as a sex offender.