Man convicted of sexually assaulting girl

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published July 22, 2019

 Shane Chupa

Shane Chupa

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ST. CLAIR SHORES/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A man will serve at least 25 years in prison after being found guilty of multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.

On July 12, a Macomb County Circuit Court jury found Shane Chupa, 46, guilty of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — both of which carry maximum life sentences. The defendant was also found guilty of one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, punishable by up to 15 years.

The first-degree conviction mandates a mandatory 25-year prison sentence.

Circuit Court Judge James Maceroni presided over the trial. Assistant Prosecutor Molly Zappitell, chief of the county’s Child Protection Unit, conducted the trial.

The jury convicted Chupa after an approximate two-hour deliberation.

Chupa was a longtime friend of the victim’s father, who along with his daughter remained nameless. When the victim was 5 years old, Chupa lived with the family in Clinton Township.

In 2011, in St. Clair Shores, Chupa once again lived with the family. When the alleged sexual assault took place, the victim was between 8 and 9 years old.

The victim, now 17, reportedly disclosed her trauma to a friend when she was 15. She also confided in her aunt roughly seven years after the assault took place.

The crimes themselves were committed in St. Clair Shores, prosecutors say, when Chupa took advantage of the minor via digital penetration and “rubbing his naked privates against the young girl’s vaginal area.”

Nikki Pittman, of the Care House in Mount Clemens, testified as an expert witness. She spoke during the trial about delayed disclosure and why victims tend to be hesitant to come forward.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, formerly the chief of the Sex Crimes Unit while an assistant prosecutor, thanked the jury “for trusting this brave young girl who found the courage to come forward.”

“Sex crimes are often the most challenging in the office,” Smith stated in a press release. “As a prosecutor, you are dealing with the most challenging of circumstances. Our Child Abuse Unit, along with St. Clair Shores Police Department, did an outstanding job to ensure this defendant is behind bars.”

At press time, criminal sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 14.

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