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Whitaker sent to prison for violating probation

February 14, 2001|By MARCY MISNER, Staff Writer

A former county correctional officer on probation for lewd acts with a minor will be sentenced to six years in state prison after admitting Tuesday he violated his probation.

David Wayne Whitaker, 33, of Imperial was arrested Dec. 11 for indecent exposure after a 22-year-old El Centro woman identified him as the man who, while sitting in a pickup next to her in the El Centro Kmart parking lot Nov. 21, exposed himself while masturbating. The woman was sitting in a car waiting for her mother, who had gone into the store.

Angry, the woman wrote down the pickup's license plate number as the man drove away and then called police.

Whitaker, who had denied the allegation, admitted it in court Tuesday.

Whitaker was a county correctional officer until he was fired in connection with activities from July through October 1998 in which he allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl in Imperial County. The victim reported the allegation to her father when she returned home to Phoenix.

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Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Sharon Housouer, then a sergeant, arrested Whitaker the morning of Nov. 11, 1998, as he came off duty as a county correctional officer.

Whitaker initially pleaded not guilty to the sex charge, but changed his plea and was sentenced to one year in the county jail in San Diego. He was released in May and put on three years probation so he could tend to his father and wife, both of whom had medical problems.

He was on probation until his Dec. 11 arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Owen said usually those convicted of sex crimes such as lewd acts with a minor are not granted probation. Because of Whitaker's clean record and several letters strongly in support of him, Owen was willing to make an exception in his case.

"It's really sad. We all hoped he would be able to do well on probation," she said Tuesday.

She explained the reason Whitaker was sent to prison after violating his probation only once was the seriousness and nature of the violation.

"Normally we're not putting them on probation," Owen said of sex offenders.

According to an agreement with the District Attorney's Office, a sentence of six years in state prison will be imposed. The indecent exposure charge will be dropped, court records indicate.

Whitaker will be in court again March 13 after the county Probation Department prepares a supplemental probation report.

Information on where he will serve his prison term was not available.

Whitaker is in the county jail with no bail available.

Staff Writer Marcy Misner can be reached at 337-3441.

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