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LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Sexually Abusing Niece

A former LA County Sheriff’s Deputy was charged earlier this year with sexually abusing his underage niece in San Bernardino County, according to court records and interviews with the alleged victim’s family.

Daniel Wai Whitten, 43, was charged in March with more than a dozen charges of obscene acts with a child, having unlawful sex with a child, possession of child pornography and communicating with a minor for sexual purposes, according to a criminal complaint filed by San Bernardino County prosecutors.

The incidents occurred between January and November 2019, according to the complaint. Investigators know of no other victims, said Jodi Miller, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Two of the alleged victim’s relatives – who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her identity – said the girl was Whitten’s step-niece.

Neither the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department nor the District Attorney’s Office issued a press release announcing Whitten’s arrest or charges laid. Relatives of the girl said they were frustrated at the lack of attention to the case, wondering why Whitten’s arrest had not been made public for more than two months.

A parent told The Times that most of the incidents occurred in hotel rooms and at Whitten’s, Ontario home, and claimed Whitten started ‘treating’ the girl in 2018, when she was 14. years.

Whitten has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney, Michael Scafiddi, said Whitten’s plea “spoke for itself” and declined to comment on the allegations in detail.

Whitten was hired by the LA County Sheriff’s Department in 1999, records show. He was assigned to the department’s parks office from 2017 and was earning an annual salary of around $ 100,000 at that time, according to a list from the sheriff’s department.

LA County Sheriff’s Department captain John Satterfield said the agency was made aware of the Whitten investigation when he was arrested on March 3. Whitten was released from duty without pay on April 13, when he was arraigned, according to Satterfield.

Satterfield did not respond to questions about the nature of Whitten’s work or whether it would have put him in close proximity to children. In 2013, Whitten was involved in the high-profile arrest of a Canadian fugitive suspected of sexually assaulting a disabled child in the 1970s. The suspect lived in a park in San Dimas where Whitten was assigned.

One of those close to Whitten’s alleged victim said concerns were raised about him last year, after an anonymous complaint was filed with the department’s child protection services division from Riverside County Public Social Services, where the girl lives.

“They reported that unusual things were happening,” said a relative. “They had seen [Whitten] sitting on the couch very close, kind of like arm massages or weird hugs, just longer hugs than you might expect from an uncle.

Whitten went to his niece’s school to speak to her after learning about a child welfare investigation, a parent said. Whitten also repeatedly called his parents, according to the relative, who said the investigation was ultimately closed without producing any evidence of wrongdoing by the MP.

The girl initially denied that anything inappropriate had happened, according to a relative, who said the girl then detailed the alleged abuse in an interview with investigators from the Sheriff’s Department. from San Bernardino County earlier this year.

Gene Kennedy, spokesperson for the Riverside County Public Social Services Department, declined to comment on the previous allegation. Satterfield said he was not sure whether the LA County Sheriff’s Department had been made aware of Riverside County’s complaint against Whitten.

Miller, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, said his agency first received a complaint about Whitten in February this year. Whitten was arrested following an interview at the department’s headquarters in San Bernardino on March 3, according to Miller.

Miller initially said the department issued a press release requesting information on other victims, which is standard practice for law enforcement agencies after arresting suspected sexual predators. When told that such a post did not exist on the sheriff’s department website, Miller said investigators were waiting for prosecutors to review the case before releasing a statement in March, but did not ultimately failed to publish one.

The charges against Whitten aren’t the first time an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy has been charged with sexual assault in recent years.

Giancarlo Scotti, a former deputy at Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, was charged with having unlawful sex with six inmates at the complex in 2016. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has authorized Scotti to argue without question and avoid jail time in 2019, as the prosecutor and Scotti’s defense lawyer in the case described the encounters as non-violent and consensual – even though by law inmates cannot consent to sexual relations with their jailers.

Times editor Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.





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