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Former Kings Bay Submariner Convicted in Retrial of 2015 Child Molestation Case
State v. Shaun Audrey Bland

October 6, 2023

District Attorney Keith Higgins announces that, for the second time, a Camden County jury has convicted former Kings Bay submariner Shaun Audrey Bland, 39, of four counts of Aggravated Child Molestation, two counts of Child Molestation and one count of Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes.

In 2014 a nine-year-old female reported that Bland had molested both her and her 11-year-old disabled sister multiple times.

In 2015, the case went to trial and Bland was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, Bland, who was out on bond, jumped from a vehicle driven by his father on I-95 going 70 miles per hour. Bland was returning to court to continue his testimony. He was then hospitalized because of his injuries. Judge Stephen Scarlett ruled that the trial could proceed without Bland because he had voluntarily absented himself from the proceeding by jumping from the vehicle.

However, in 2022, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed his conviction, finding that Bland had not voluntarily waived his right to be present from trial. The Appeals Court found that his right to be present during trial had been violated and ordered a new trial in the case.

In the retrial of the case, jurors observed the forensic interview of the 9-year-old victim describing multiple acts of sexual abuse committed against herself and her disabled sister. Most of these acts involved Bland putting his penis in her mouth and ‘milk’ coming out of it. She described how the ‘milk’ tasted sour and gooey and felt like snot. The first incident occurred when he took her into the shower with him while her mother was out of the home. She also recounted one time where both she and her sister had to suck his penis in the bedroom. She also described incidents where he had rubbed his penis against both her vagina and buttocks and a time where he licked her ‘butthole.’ Bland had told her not to tell or she’d be in trouble.

The victim, now 18, had to testify again, describing the abuse she had suffered and the trauma she had dealt with in the years since.

During the original investigation, Bland was interviewed by former Camden Sheriff’s Office Investigator, now St. Mary’s Police Chief, James Galloway, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Jason Boswell. After initially denying ever taking a shower with the younger victim, or having any sexual

contact with her, he eventually admitted to taking a shower with her one time at her insistence. He also said she started asking him about his penis while in the shower and he explained that was where pee and a milk like substance came out of. He then said that while washing his hair his penis ended up touching the 9-year-olds mouth and may have gone inside of it, but that it was completely unintentional. He never told the girl’s mother or anyone else that this had happened.

Her older sister, who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism, was unable to testify as her disabilities make her unable to communicate or comprehend what had happened. The jury acquitted on the one count of aggravated child molestation pertaining to her.

Bland testified at trial and altered his statement that he gave to investigators. He said that there was no discussion in the shower about his penis and that it had occurred after they got out. He also said he was not sure what she had touched his penis with, but that he felt ‘violated’ when it happened. On cross-examination Bland claimed the reason for the inconsistencies in his trial testimony and his interview back in 2014 was because he was confused and reflexively agreed with investigators questions because of his training in the Navy to always say ‘yes.’ At the time Bland had two years of college and was a missile technician.

According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush, who prosecuted the case for the State, “It is tragic that the victim and her mother had to be retraumatized by having to endure the ordeal of a trial again. They have suffered greatly in the years since and never expected that they would have to see Bland again, much less tell a room full of strangers about the depraved things he had done. They, as well as law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office, are grateful to the jury for seeing the truth and holding Bland accountable again.”

The case was investigated by former Camden County Sheriff’s Office Investigator, now St. Mary’s Police Lieutenant, Erica Rafferty.
Sentencing will be held at a later date. Bland again faces the possibility of a life in prison sentence.

Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.