Winthrop man sought in connection with child rape case

Winthrop Police were searching this week for 45-year old Sean Shanahan, most recently of 26 Shirley Street apartment #3 on five charges including two counts of statutory rape, two counts of enticing a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, after the alleged victim’s parents reported finding disturbing and explicit text messages on the child’s cell phone.

“This individual (Shanahan) is someone who was familiar with the child,” explained Police Chief Terrence Delehanty. “It appears that this case began with a series of text messages and then progressed to other activities that included the statutory rape charges.”

Shanahan, a Transportation Security Administration employee at Logan Airport, has not appeared at his job in several days and has also not been back to his apartment on Shirley Street, following an initial search of his residence by police, which resulted in the confiscation of a computer and cell phone from his home.

“Initially, the family reported to us that they had found some disturbing text messages on the child’s phone,” said Chief Delehanty. “During the course of the investigation, Lieutenant Detective Brian Perrin was able to learn from the victim of other incidents. . .which led to the five charges that the District Attorney’s office has brought.”

Delehanty also said that police believe that Shanahan has left the town and may have left the state, “at least temporarily, but may be back.” As of Tuesday evening, Delehanty said they had also received at least one report that the suspect may have been admitted to a Boston area hospital over the past few days and Winthrop Police are working with State Police to make sure that if he has been admitted to a hospital, he will be arrested.

“We are in contact with the state police, they have been given a copy of the warrant for his arrest and they are working with us to make sure that if he is in the state, he will be arrested and face these charges as soon as possible,” added Delehanty.

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