TACOMA — A Port Townsend man has been charged in U.S. District Court with two counts of illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place following a two-year investigation into a trip he took with a 6-year-old boy.
John Timothy Whicher, 62, allegedly molested the boy at a family cabin in Ontario in August 2017 after he purchased the trip as a surprise without informing the child’s custodial parent, according to prosecutors.
Whicher was scheduled to make his initial appearance Monday afternoon in Tacoma.
Engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation began two years ago after the boy’s mother reported to Port Townsend police that Whicher raped her son. Whicher is a male relative, according to court documents.
According to the probable cause statement, Whicher allegedly bought plane tickets for himself and the boy and flew from Seattle to International Falls, Minn., and then crossed the border at Fort Francis into Canada.
The boy’s mother thought it was strange but allowed it because she had a good relationship with Whicher, although she was concerned he would be drinking while he was on the trip.
The morning after the two returned, the boy told his mother and another person Whicher sexually abused him.
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.”
The case is being investigated by Special Agent James A. Lawson of Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Hampton.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].