PORT TOWNSEND — A Port Townsend man has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for raping a child while on a trip to Canada.
John Timothy Whicher, 63, was sentenced Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 8.5 years — 102 months — in federal prison and 10 years of supervised release for raping a 6-year-old boy while on vacation in Canada in August 2017, according to a press release from the U.S. District Court.
Whicher pleaded guilty in February to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said the victim “has a life sentence … He’ll live with this. This kind of horrendous assault follows a victim through their entire life,” the release said.
Said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown: “Child sexual abuse has been linked to long-term trauma, health and social problems for victims, including addiction and suicide risk.
“The conduct in this case was a shocking betrayal to the child and the child’s family. Law enforcement both here and in Canada worked collaboratively seeking justice in this case.”
According to records filed in the case and the plea agreement, Whicher took the boy to Canada to stay at a family cabin in Ontario.
When the child returned from the trip, he disclosed the sexual molestation to his mother, saying Whicher told him to keep it a secret, the release said.
The parent confronted Whicher and reported the conduct to the Port Townsend Police Department.
Port Townsend police contacted authorities in Canada. Federal prosecutors learned of the offense when Canada filed to extradite Whicher to face charges and forwarded the request to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, said Emily Langlie, U.S. Attorney’s Office communications director, in a press release.
Assistant U.S. attorneys worked with local and Canadian law enforcement to bring charges in the Western District of Washington, Langlie said.
Speaking to the court Monday, the mother of the victim said Whicher, “turned out to be the biggest threat in both of our lives.”
When Whicher was confronted on the allegations, he allegedly responded he was just trying to teach the boy about the “birds and the bees” and that “boys don’t have sex with boys,” according to court documents.
Whicher will be required to register as a sex offender following his release from prison.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Port Townsend Police Department.
Canadian law enforcement provided critical assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.
In the next four to six weeks, Whicher will be sent a letter by the bureau of prisons telling him where and when to report to serve his sentence.
He has been on pre-trial release since his arrest in 2019 and that did not change Monday, Langlie said on Tuesday.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]