NEWARK — An Essex County corrections officer convicted of raping a woman inmate in her jail cell in 2010 was sentenced Monday to 25 years in federal prison.

Shawn D. Shaw, 42, of Newark, protested his innocence. But U.S. Attorney General Paul J. Fishman said Shaw lied about the assault and left out information from his statement that obstructed the investigation.

His young victim, who had been locked up awaiting trial, did not attend the sentencing and wrote an open letter to NJ Advance Media about why she made the decision to instead go shopping for her father's birthday present. She said the sentencing brought her "a little bit of peace."

"Today I did not attend the sentencing, because I was afraid of how seeing this defendant would affect my me, mentally, and point blank, I have come too far to visit dark places," the 29-year-old woman wrote in the email to the newspaper. Her identity was not released.

"When I was incarcerated, very few people believed me. I was put in solitary, officers made jokes about it. The case took years to prosecute, which I understand," she says.

In her letter, the victim says giving testimony was "extremely difficult" for her. She since has earned a master's degree and has a job, and is at a "very different place" in her life.

“The defendant abused his position of power to exploit a vulnerable individual whom he was tasked with protecting," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta said. "While no amount of jail time can undo the harm he caused, I am hopeful that this sentence will provide some level of resolution to the victim who had the strength and resolve to report the assault."

The  woman also thanked her case worker who she said had faith in her through the entire process.

Shaw must also serve five years of supervised release and pay his victim $6,000 in restitution.