Justin Tyler Dunbar, a 34-year-old resident of Grantsburg, Wisconsin

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Justin Tyler Dunbar, a 34-year-old resident of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, has been sentenced to 20 years in the Maryland Division of Corrections, with ten years of active incarceration to serve. The sentencing came after Dunbar was convicted on three counts of third-degree felony sexual offense against a minor. The acts were reported to have occurred on October 17, 2022. A St. Mary’s County jury reached the conviction after a three-day trial held in May 2023.

The specific sentencing details are as follows:

  • Ten years in prison for the first count of third-degree sexual offense.
  • A suspended sentence of ten years for the second count, set to run consecutively.
  • Another suspended sentence of ten years for the third count, also set to run consecutively.

In addition to the prison term, Dunbar is required to register as a sex offender for life and will be under lifetime sexual offender supervision.

The Maryland Sentencing Guidelines recommended a considerably lighter sentence for offenses like this, typically ranging from three months to four years of incarceration. State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling had requested a full 30-year active prison sentence for Dunbar, which is the maximum penalty under the law for these types of offenses.

Detective James Bare of the Criminal Investigation Division of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation into the allegations against Dunbar. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Proctor, Chief of the Special Victims Unit, prosecuted the case on behalf of St. Mary’s County residents. The Honorable Joseph M. Stanalonis presided over the legal proceedings.

This case comes when there is increasing public focus on sexual offenses, especially against minors. The sentencing has sparked conversations about whether the Maryland Sentencing Guidelines are sufficient to deal with such severe offenses. Dunbar’s sentencing beyond the recommended guidelines reflects a measure of the gravity with which the court viewed these particular crimes.

The sentence will likely serve as an essential reference point in ongoing discussions about adequate punitive measures for sexual offenses against minors. It also raises questions about whether the existing sentencing guidelines are sufficiently stringent to act as a deterrent against such crimes.

The conviction and sentencing of Justin Tyler Dunbar underline the justice system’s ongoing efforts to hold individuals accountable for sexual offenses against minors. While the case may be seen as a legal victory for the prosecution and a cautionary tale for potential offenders, it also calls attention to the broader conversation about the efficacy of existing sentencing guidelines in dealing with cases of this nature.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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