Dozens of sex offenders face prison time as a result of a reform that was adopted after the Marion County Jail released a twice-convicted rapist 72 hours after he was arrested on a charge of sexual assault last summer.
Five days later, police said Shawn Corbally entered a woman’s Greenwood apartment, brutally raped her at knifepoint for hours while her children slept nearby and threatened to kill her and hurt her kids.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department reviewed Corbally’s release from jail and has since adopted new policies for how it handles sex offenders who get booked into the jail. Deputies now screen registered sex offenders who are arrested for any reason, to see if they should stay locked up, Capt. Michael Hubbs said.
Corbally had been registered as a sex offender in Clinton County after serving time in prison for two rape convictions and wasn’t allowed to go anywhere else for more than 72 hours without notifying the local sheriff’s office.
The new policy wouldn’t have stopped Corbally from being released from jail, since there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him, Hubbs said. But public outcry over his release led to a review of policies and procedures at the jail, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department determined it should do more to find any possible probation or sex offender registry violations that would keep offenders from being released.
Since the new policy was put in place, about 10 to 20 felony charges of sex offender registry violations have been filed per month.
“We looked at this case, asked ourselves if everything was done, and found a way to improve the operations,” Hubbs said.
In late July, police said Corbally broke into a woman’s apartment in Ashmore Trace Apartments, put a knife to her throat and raped her repeatedly, according to a probable-cause affidavit. He forced her to bathe at one point, made her sit in the kitchen with him while he smoked cigarettes and raped her again after she told him she didn’t have any cigarettes to give him.
Corbally assaulted her on the patio and led her outside naked with a knife to her neck. He let her go when a jogger spotted them, according to the affidavit.
He faces numerous charges, including rape, four counts of criminal deviate conduct, two counts of criminal confinement and burglary resulting in bodily injury.
He goes on trial Monday, when a jury will be selected in Monroe County. The jurors will come to Franklin, where they’re set to start hearing evidence in Johnson Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Corbally has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys, Carrie Miles and Michael Bohn, could not be reached for comment.
Justice and safety
If convicted of all counts, Corbally could face up to 340 years in prison, Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said.
Cooper said he filed the charges in a way that would allow a judge to sentence Corbally to centuries in prison and said he wants the man locked up as long as possible to protect the community.
He’s decided to prosecute the case instead of assigning it to a deputy prosecutor because of its importance, he said. He plans to present DNA evidence and call at least 10 witnesses, including the victim, in a trial that’s expected to last all week.
“The goal here is to get justice for our victim and, as importantly, make sure the community is safe by keeping him out of it,” Cooper said.
Corbally could face a lifetime in prison if convicted of the six Class A felony charges and two Class B felony charges that will be considered during the trial next week.
He also faces a sex offender registration violation charge in Clinton County and charges of attempted residential entry and failure to register as a sex offender in Johnson County. Corbally was registered as a sex offender after being released from prison last year after serving less than half of a 25-year sentence for two rape convictions.
Those charges aren’t part of the trial next week because they concern separate incidents. Corbally potentially could face a second trial in Johnson County, but Cooper said he likely would not go through the time and expense of another trial that would result in adding only a few extra years to his sentence if Corbally already were sentenced to a lifetime in prison.
He does not face any charges in Marion County, where he was arrested days before the Greenwood rape after a woman reported that she was groped in the laundry room of an apartment complex. Marion County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Peg McLeish said the office didn’t have enough evidence to support charges of sexual assault or failure to register as a sex offender.
Corbally was released from the Marion County Jail after prosecutors decided not to file charges.
An internal investigation found that the sheriff’s department didn’t do anything wrong when its jailers let Corbally go, because he faced no criminal charges and they couldn’t hold him any longer, Hubbs said. No departmental rules or regulations were broken.
The sheriff’s department, however, reviewed all its sex offender procedures to identify any improvements that could be made and found that new policies were needed to make sure that sex offenders weren’t released from jail if they shouldn’t be, Hubbs said.
The new policies wouldn’t have kept Corbally in jail longer but could help in other cases, Hubbs said.
Corbally had been flagged as noncompliant on the sex offender registry, but the jail wasn’t able hold him any longer while police in Marion and Clinton counties were trying to put together a case that he had been in Indianapolis for 72 hours without registering as a sex offender.
Three witnesses told investigators that Corbally had not been living in Marion County before his July 22 arrest, according to a news release.
“We did not have cause to arrest him or the authority to hold him,” Hubbs said. “We actually went to Clinton County for the investigation but had no probable cause that he was residing in this county.”
After he was arrested in connection with the Greenwood rape, Corbally told investigators that he had been staying at his mother’s home in Marion County. He told them he was passing through Greenwood on his way to Mexico because he believed he was wanted on a warrant for probation violation.
After the Greenwood rape, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department reviewed all its policies and procedures with how it handles sex offenders to figure out whether any improvements could be made at the jail, Hubbs said.
The biggest change is that deputies now interview every sex offender to make sure they’re properly registered, haven’t moved when they weren’t supposed to or violated any terms of probation, Hubbs said.
Here’s how it works: Any time anyone is arrested for any reason and taken to the Marion County Jail, a jail employee will run the name through national and state databases that all convicted sex offenders are enrolled in. An alert will come up in the search if they’ve been tagged as a sex offender.
“About 80,000 people a year get booked into the jail, and when we run them through the databases we get hits on sex offenders,” he said. “They could have been arrested for public intoxication or something else with no relevance to the sex offender statute. But anytime we realize it’s a sex offender, we respond by doing a field interview to find if they’re in compliance or not in compliance.”
Deputies will check the case files to figure out where the people last reported they live and ask why they are in Indianapolis and how long they’ve been there, if they’re originally from somewhere else.
They find out where they’ve been living and what they’re doing in Indianapolis to see if they should have registered as sex offenders in Marion County, Hubbs said. They’ll also check out claims they make about where they live.
“They don’t have to cooperate if they don’t want to, so we look at what we know about where they were arrested and the circumstances,” he said. “We apply investigative tools, since they’ll routinely make false statements to the investigators. We’ll look at whether they were arrested on a domestic dispute or for shoplifting and take the totality of the situation into account.”
If a residency violation is found, a Marion County deputy prosecutor would review the case and file charges. If that happens, the sex offender would be arrested and face a felony charge that can result in up to three years in prison.
Sex offenders also are often on parole or probation, which the jail also checks during the screening. Hubbs said. They can be held at jail without bond and eventually sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence, if they’re found to have violated the terms of their probation.
Another change made as a result of the policy review is that sex offenders now wear differently colored jumpsuits so they can be identified more easily at the jail, Hubbs said. Other inmates often attack them, and now guards can more easily keep them from being hurt.
Those changes went into place in October.
Here’s a look at what changes the Marion County Sheriff’s Department made after after police said twice-convicted rapist Shawn Corbally raped a Greenwood woman days after he was arrested in Indianapolis and let out of jail. The sheriff’s office reviewed all its policies for how sex offenders are handled at the jail and determined improvements could be made, even if they wouldn’t have kept Corbally behind bars:
Jumpsuits: Sex offenders in the Marion County Jail now wear differently colored jumpsuits so that guards can more easily identify them and keep them safe from other inmates.
Sex offender review: All sex offenders who are arrested for any reason now get interviewed by sheriff’s deputies, who try to determine if they’ve violated any terms of probation or parole, or if they’ve failed to register as a sex offender.
Corbally case: The sheriff’s office says the new procedure likely would not have prevented Corbally from being released, because the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t charge him with any crime and three witnesses said at the time that Corbally wasn’t living in Marion County, where he never registered at a sex offender.
Here’s a look at the upcoming trial for Shawn Corbally, who police said broke into a Greenwood home and repeatedly raped a woman at knifepoint:
Charges: Shawn Corbally was charged with rape, four counts of criminal deviate sexual conduct, two counts of criminal confinement and burglary resulting in bodily injury. He also faces pending charges of attempted residential entry and failure to register as a sex offender, but they aren’t part of the upcoming trial.
Where: Johnson Circuit Court
Change of venue: The jurors will come from Bloomington, where the assault received less publicity.
When: Jury selection starts on Monday in Monroe County.
Trial: The jurors will start hearing evidence on the case in the courthouse in downtown Franklin on Tuesday.
Length: The trial is expected to take all week because of the number of witnesses and amount of DNA evidence that will be presented.