Stepdad MICHAEL JARIUS WHITLEY, JR. has pleaded guilty to "incest" with his stepdaughter in return for having second-degree rape charges dropped. He'll serve just five months in prison. When he gets out and is on probation, he'll be allowed to live with the young sons of his current domestic partner. Disgusting.
Man pleads guilty to incest in New Hanover Court
Michael Jarius Whitley Jr. gets five-month term
By Veronica GonzalezVeronica.Gonzalez@StarNewsOnline.com
Published: Monday, June 29, 2009 at 5:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 at 5:12 p.m.
A 43-year-old man pleaded guilty to incest Monday in New Hanover County Superior Court and was sentenced to five months in prison followed by five years supervised probation.
Michael Jarius Whitley Jr., who lives in Utah, must also register as a sex offender. In return for a guilty plea, a second-degree rape charge against Whitley was dropped.
The charge involved Whitley’s former stepdaughter. The StarNews does not name victims of sexual crimes.
When the judge asked him if he was pleading guilty and he said “Yes,” the victim, who is 20 years old now, quietly mouthed “Thank you” to herself while squeezing her mother’s hand in court. It took five years for the victim, then 16, to come forward and tell her mother that Whitley had been sexually abusing her.
Connie Jordan, assistant district attorney, said after the victim told her mother in May 2006 about the abuse, a recording was made where Whitley admitted the abuse to the victim’s mother. However, the recording was inaudible.
Before Monday, there had been several attempts over the past few years to resolve the case that never panned out. On Monday, the plea agreement threatened to fall apart because Whitley, who had raised the girl since she was 3, said he was displeased with his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Nora Hargrove, because she didn’t explore certain avenues of investigation. He didn’t give specifics. Hargrove said her client had wanted the proceedings to take place in private.
“No,” Superior Court Judge John Nobles said firmly before resuming the proceeding.
Before Whitley was sentenced, he stood up and said he was sorry for the circumstances “and what happened.”
Whitley will be allowed to be around the young sons of his current domestic partner, but he is prohibited from living with girls under 18. Also, he will continue to be able to work in computer services at the University of Utah where he cleans computers. His job entails wiping out images that might be prohibited by his conviction as a sex offender, but Nobles ruled Whitley must do his job at work, not home.
The mother of the victim said she was married to Whitley for nearly 15 years, but never knew what had been going on. She had noticed her daughter was depressed, withdrawn and couldn’t go to school. When her daughter finally told her, the victim’s mother said she felt guilty and wondered how it could have happened.
“I was laying down every night with the bad guy not knowing it,” she said.
In court, the victim’s mother talked about the impact of Whitley’s actions on her and her daughter.
“He robbed her of so many beautiful, first-time intimate experiences,” the mother said, adding she couldn’t caress her daughter on the face to wake her up and that her daughter feared men who are strangers. “I grieve silently in my mind for her. ... After today, I think (the victim’s) and my world will make sense.”