Conflict issue delays sentencing of former coach for sexual harassment

Shannon Guay appears in court in Grand Rapids on April 25, 2024.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A west Michigan man convicted of sexually assaulting nearly a dozen girls in April is still awaiting sentencing.

Shannon Guay50, was found guilty of 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping after a two-week trial earlier this year. A total of 14 victims were identified; their ages at the time of the crimes ranged from 4 to 15. attacks over 15 years ago.

Guay was expected to be sentenced in early June, but News 8 has learned a potential conflict of interest between Kent County Judge Joseph Rossi and one of Guay’s victims led to the delay.

The defense filed a motion May 7 to disqualify Rossi from presiding over the sentencing after learning that one of the victims in the case was a good friend of the judge’s son. The victim exchanged numerous text messages with the younger Rossi before Guay’s trial. Documents show she told her son about Guay “back in the day” and said she was grateful his father was the judge in the case.

Citing state law, the defense argued that the lack of disclosure between the judge and the victim and their relationship before the trial could impact the objectivity of the sentence.

Guay remains in prison and faces up to life in prison. The court had not appointed a new judge to sentence him as of this afternoon.