Tacoma, WA – A 63-year-old Port Townsend, Washington, man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 102 months in prison and ten years of supervised release for raping a 6-year-old child while on a vacation in Canada. John Timothy Whicher pleaded guilty to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place in February 2021. 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.”
“Child sexual abuse has been linked to long-term trauma, health and social problems for victims, including addiction and suicide risk,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “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, in August 2017, Whicher took the 6-year-old child to Canada to stay at a family cabin in Ontario. When the child returned from the trip, the child disclosed to a parent the sexual molestation, saying Whicher said to keep it a secret. The parent confronted Whicher and reported the conduct to the Port Townsend Police.
Port Townsend Police contacted authorities in Canada. When Canada filed to extradite Whicher to face charges and forwarded the request to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, federal prosecutors first learned of the criminal conduct. Assistant United States Attorneys worked with local and Canadian law enforcement to bring appropriate charges in the Western District of Washington.
Speaking to the court today, the mother of the victim said Whicher, “turned out to be the biggest threat in both of our lives.”
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.