PT man accused of molestation in Canada

Posted 8/7/19

A 62-year-old Port Townsend man was arrested Aug. 5 on a complaint charging him with two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, according to Brian T. Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

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PT man accused of molestation in Canada

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A 62-year-old Port Townsend man was arrested Aug. 5 on a complaint charging him with two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, according to Brian T. Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

John Timothy Whicher made his initial appearance on the complaint in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 5, before his detention hearing was scheduled Aug. 8 at 2:15 p.m. before Magistrate Judge David W. Christel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 19 at 11 a.m.

Emily Langlie, communications director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, explained the case was only “very recently” referred to that office, in part because the jurisdiction in which the criminal conduct took place was a foreign country.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James M. Kennedy noted that, “Looking at the charging document, it does not appear that this individual could have been charged in state court, because the conduct occurred in a foreign country.”

According to the criminal complaint, in August of 2017, Whicher took a 6-year-old child to Canada to stay at a family cabin in Ontario, allegedly planning the trip as a surprise, and purchasing the trip without informing the child’s custodial parent.

When the child returned from the trip, they told their parent Whicher had sexually molested them and had told the child to keep it a secret.

The parent subsequently confronted Whicher, and reported the conduct to the Port Townsend Police.

The criminal complaint was filed before Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma on July 19, 2019, but Langlie elaborated the case came to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in May.

“There was work to do, including interviews, before the charges were filed,” Langlie said. “Canadian law enforcement had been working on the matter, and we needed to get their reports.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office pointed out the charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations.

“When someone is charged with a criminal complaint, they do not enter a plea — procedurally, it just doesn’t happen,” Langlie said. “A grand jury has to return an indictment.”

Engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Matthew Hampton.

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