By Arianna Medina & Simran Bhatt
A man will be going to trial after a preliminary hearing upheld the 30 different counts against him, all of which are sex-related charges with a minor.
The defendant, Keith Whelan, is alleged to have committed the assaults on a female relative, who subsequently reported them.
In the preliminary hearing, the State’s only witness was Detective Jack Schubert from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department. He testified that on Oct. 1, 2019, he received a report from the alleged victim in which she claimed to have been sexually assaulted by the defendant from August 2016 to May 2019. The alleged victim claimed the sexual abuse began two weeks after her mother had passed away from cancer.
Detective Schubert testified that, according to the alleged victim, the sexual abuse began in August 2016 with a few days separating the first three incidents.
The alleged victim claimed the abuse occurred 80 times before she stopped counting and she further said that when she asked the defendant to stop, it would briefly stop but would always pick back up again. According to the alleged victim, the longest period of time of no sexual abuse was about a week and a half.
According to the alleged victim, sometime in April of 2019 was the last incident of sexual abuse, because she moved out shortly after her birthday, claiming that there was an altercation that prompted her to move out. This altercation allegedly began over a slice of pizza and the alleged victim claimed that the defendant exchanged blows with her.
Officer Schubert further testified that the minor claimed she continued to go along with the sexual acts because the defendant threatened, if she refused, to revoke her privileges and physically abuse her. According to Officer Schubert, the victim recalled a specific incident in which there was an argument that ensued and Mr. Whelan allegedly chased the victim around with a machete. The victim was 15 at the time and these arguments occurred because she told the defendant she did not want to be sexually abused anymore.
According to officer testimony, the alleged victim claimed she suffered a ruptured eardrum as a result of the physical abuse. He also stated she claimed to have found a handgun under the bed, and also claimed the defendant made threats that his friends would come and “take care of her.”
According to the officer’s testimony, the alleged victim claimed the defendant was jealous of her boyfriend. Mr. Whelan threatened the alleged victim’s boyfriend, causing her to pretend she was not in a relationship with him. She also claimed that there were inappropriate photos and videos of her. Officer Schubert testified to have found an inappropriate picture of the minor on the defendant’s phone.
During the cross-examination of Officer Shubert by the defense, he explained how he had two statements from the alleged victim. The first statement was reported a few months prior to May 2019, where the alleged victim had mentioned signs of physical abuse by Mr. Whelan and Mr. Whelan’s use of drugs. The second statement reported on May 17, 2019, revealed the sexual abuse inflicted on the victim.
During that time, the alleged victim had moved out of Mr. Whelan’s residence and was living with her grandparents. During an interview conducted by a trained specialist for youth who have been sexually assaulted, the alleged victim mentioned how she had “daddy issues.” This was due to the alleged victim being moved between foster homes for the first nine years of her life.
Furthermore, the alleged victim had a boyfriend who knew about the sexual abuse but it is unclear when, during the three years, the alleged victim revealed that to him.
The judge concluded that Mr. Whelan will be held to answer to all 30 counts that were reported against him. The first 12 counts occurred when the victim was under 14 years of age and the remaining 18 counts occurred when the victim was between 14 and 15 years of age. Hence, each count took place once every quarter.
While it was argued that there were no injuries on the victim, no specific time frame of the sexual abuse and the only one act of force, the judge stated that there were adequate means of dominance and force.
Mr. Whelan’s arraignment is on December 3 at 10 a.m.