The following press release has been issued by the Office of Ashley Welch, District Attorney.
David Joe Shuler, 52, of Bryson City was convicted today by a jury in Swain County Superior Court of being an accessory before the fact to statutory rape. Shuler facilitated the crime by pretending to be the father of one of the minor victim's girlfriends who had come to pick the victim up for an all girls sleepover. He assured the victim's family that there would be adult supervision, and that there would be no boys around. Instead, the defendant dropped the victim off with an adult male at a mobile home that the defendant owned, and the crime occurred over the course of the next day and a half. Shuler was immediately taken into custody after the jury's verdict and ordered to serve 58 to 82 months in the custody of the Division of Adult Correction.
"We all share an obligation to protect the children in our communities, and this conviction demonstrates how seriously my office takes that responsibility. I commend Sheriff Cochran and the Swain County Sheriff's Office for bringing us the evidence we needed to achieve justice in this case," said District Attorney Ashley Welch.
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