Expert: Schaffhausen Might be Targeted in Prison

Updated: 07/16/2013 3:35 PM KSTP.com By: Joe Mazan



Aaron Schaffhausen was sentenced Monday, July 15.
Aaron Schaffhausen was sentenced Monday, July 15.

What's next for Aaron Schaffhausen?

His first stop is the Dodge Correctional Institute in Wisconsin, where he'll undergo medical and mental health tests.

He'll likely be sent to a maximum-security prison and may be placed in a mental-health unit. Schaffhausen's safety is a major concern. University of Minnesota sociology professor Joshua Page studies prison culture.

Page says people who commit crimes against children can be targeted by other inmates.

Due to the safety risk, Wisconsin has the option to send Schaffhausen to a prison in another state.

 A jury found in April that 35-year-old Schaffhausen was sane when he killed 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia at their River Falls, Wis., home.

Family Moves On

Family and friends testified about their most fond memories of the three girls at the sentencing hearing. The judge listened to witnesses from both the prosecution and defense before making his decision of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The girls' young cousin, Eryn Schlotte, said, "I thought the world was a better place than this, not somewhere where people are killed before they go to kindergarten, before they have a chance to buy a house or get a job. Why does this happen, and why would someone do this?"

University of Minnesota professor Dr. Abigail Gewirtz says, "The closer you are, the closer the family is to your family or your life, the harder it is to come to terms with it." But she adds that Schlotte's testimony says, "I'm holding on to the memories you can't take that away from me... I'm going to keep her in my heart."

Dr. Gewirtz added that events like this can cause Post Traumatic Stress for the children involved and family members need to look for warning signs, or anything that gets in the way of normal life. That's when she says professional help should be sought.

Events to Help Family Memorialize Girls

An event this weekend could help in that healing process. The Tri-Angels 5k Fun Run will be held this Saturday at 7 a.m. at Hoffman Park in River Falls.
     
All the money raised will help pay for a new playground in honor of the three sisters. You can register online or on the morning of the race.

Also, the girls' mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, is organizing an art show to honor her daughters. The show will feature more than 100 pieces of framed artwork made by her daughters.

The event will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at Gallery 120, 120 N. Main St. in River Falls, Wis.