Man Holds "I Was Stupid" Sign All Day

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

While most people were filling up on turkey Thanksgiving Day, one man was stuck in the cold as part of a public humiliation sentence.

Early last month 22-year-old Shane McQuillan decided he'd rather hold a sign that says "I was stupid" instead of spending 20 days in jail for his guilty charge of criminal damage to property.

It's not how most of us would like to spend thanksgiving. But from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon on Thursday McQuillan was standing at the entrance gate of Eau Claire’s Waste Water Treatment Facility with his handcrafted sign reading "I was stupid."

Eau Claire County Judge Paul Lenz gave McQuillan his sentence, he says, “It's a difficult thing to do if you think about it for yourself. It's basically a public acknowledgment of what you did was wrong and that's difficult for people today.”

McQuillan chose to face humiliation for 8 hours Thursday, and brought along a newspaper to keep him busy.

Judge Lenz says he's handed out 20 or so similar sentences, but he says most criminals pass on the option and choose to wait out their sentences in jail.

Last March McQuillan crashed his car into the waste water facility's closed gates. Police officers found he had a blood alcohol level of .238 and police say McQuillan said he was "just being stupid."

On Thanksgiving Day, on a day most people say what they're thankful for, McQuillan publicly acknowledged what he's sorry for.

WEAU tried to talk to McQuillan but he refused to speak with us.


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