Air Force colonel guilty of sexual imposition
Dayton Daily News, Ohio
A Dayton Municipal Court jury found an Air Force colonel guilty Thursday of a criminal misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition involving a woman at a festival in Carillon Park.
Col. Mayan Shah, a 49-year-old research analyst at Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will be sentenced in four to six weeks, according to Dayton Municipal Court Judge Christopher D. Roberts, who presided over the case.
The jury of six women and two men spent less than two hours deliberating before returning the verdict against the 23-year-military career officer who had an “unblemished” record, according to Richard S. Skelton, Shah’s defense attorney. Shah did not speak with reporters as he left the courtroom Thursday. Skelton said his client had no intention to harm anyone nor give the military “a black eye.”
Shah testified he had been drinking ale during AleFest at the park and had no memory of the sexual misconduct courtroom witnesses accused him of at the event last August. He also testified he did not recall meeting any of the women or doing anything harmful to them.
AFMC spokesman Ron Fry said in an email the service has “zero tolerance” of sexual misconduct, but he could not comment on any potential administrative actions because of federal privacy laws.
An alleged victim testified she was standing in front of a large tree with two other friends in a parking lot at Carillon Park when a man they did not know approached them from behind while they posed for a photo.
The three women worked at an area brew pub and had volunteered to work at the festival, they testified.
Shah lifted one of the women’s skirt, who yelled at him to stop, she testified. Shah then put his hand up a second woman’s skirt and touched her in a sexually inappropriate way, the victim testified in court.
“I was in shock,” she said, in sometimes emotional testimony. “I just really felt violated.”
She said she was silent after what happened. “It’s not something that you think is ever going to happen to you,” she said.
The second woman said she had slapped at Shah’s arm. At least one of the women said he appeared intoxicated, but another said he did not.
The women found Dayton police and reported what happened.
A third woman who testified in court Thursday said Shah stared at her uncomfortably and slowly opened his hands between his arms while she sat in a grassy area in the park.
“He was just standing there dazed and making a strange gesture,” she said.
She testified he approached her and asked to perform oral sex on her.
“I was very scared,” she said. “The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I said ‘no, thank you.’”
She did not report the incident to police, but told a brother and a friend who were with her at the festival what happened, she said. She later encountered Shah while the military officer was in uniform at Wright-Patterson where she was employed as a contractor.
While she was standing in a hallway for several minutes, she said he approached her and asked her if she needed any help. She made a point to look at his uniform name tag.
“I got the opportunity to see and hear the man’s voice and I knew,” she said.
She told a co-worker, her brother and a friend what had happened, but again did not report the alleged festival incident to police, she said.
Dayton Police Officer Johnny W. Watts said at the park after the festival Shah appeared to be “confused” and to have consumed alcohol, but police did not conduct a breathalyzer test.
After police discovered his military identification, Dayton Police Officer Michelle A. Moser said officers consulted with a supervisor and decided to transport Shah to Wright-Patterson where he was turned over to the base’s military police.
Shah said he was transported to his apartment by a first sergeant within his unit.