A 23-year-old Lincoln man blamed his choice to drink so much he lost consciousness as the reason he ended up in front of a judge Wednesday, facing sentencing for an attempted sex assault of a 15-year-old girl.
"Far too many people made far too many bad choices that night, including myself. And far too many have suffered as a result of it," James Shrader said.
Lancaster County District Judge Andrew Jacobsen ultimately gave him two years in prison and 1½ years of post-release supervision. With credit for nearly a year he's spent in jail already, Shrader is days from being released.
He pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree sexual assault and child abuse for what happened at a St. Patrick's Day party in 2017.
Last month, his co-defendant, Marcus Steed, 23, got five to 10 years for attempted first-degree sexual assault. He pleaded guilty. At Steed's hearing, his attorney called it a statutory rape case, saying Steed had consensual sex with an underage girl and never would've if he hadn't been drinking.
Their cases involved the same girl, a 15-year-old who was intoxicated.
Shrader said Wednesday he couldn't express how sorry he was.
"If I'd been sober, I would've asked the questions I should have," he said.
Jacobsen said while alcohol played a part in this, that's not an excuse as far as he's concerned.
"Perhaps it wouldn't have happened if alcohol wasn't involved, but it did," he said. "And there's no justification for it."
Shrader and Steed both will have to register as sex offenders for 25 years.
The girl told police she became drunk at a party, went into Steed's bedroom to lie down and blacked out, police said in an affidavit for Steed's arrest.
She awoke in her underwear next to Steed, who was naked, she told investigators.
When she went home, she noticed bruises on her neck and breasts and felt she had been sexually assaulted, police said. In court records, police said Steed told them it had been a threesome.