A convicted sex offender found guilty of sexually assaulting a child beginning when she was three years old has been ordered to serve 30 full years in prison.
Circuit Judge Dale Harkey sentenced 34-year-old Lucedale resident William Lee Whittaker II to serve his entire prison term after a George County jury found him guilty on multiple counts, District Attorney Tony Lawrence said Thursday.
Harkey also fined Whittaker $15,000 in the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
This is Whittaker’s third conviction as a sex offender, according to sex offender records. He was convicted as a young teenager on two counts of criminal sexual misconduct second degree with a person younger than 13 in 1997 in Ingham, Michigan, and one count on the same crime in the same city in 1999.
The jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning the verdicts, Lawrence said.
The jury convicted Whittaker on three counts of sexual battery and one count of touching a child for lustful purposes. Jurors in the two-day trial believed testimony that Whittaker sexually abused the child from August 2011 until September 2014.
“This child victim showed amazing courage in explaining what happened to her, first to law enforcement and then to the citizens on the George County jury,” Lawrence said.
“When a child is harmed by an adult, that child carries that pain with them for the rest of his or her life. I have said it many times before and I say it again, we will not tolerate crimes being committed against children. I hope this 30 years day-for-day sentence renews the often repeated message — leave our children alone.”
The George County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.
Assistant District Attorneys Bill Barrett and Justin Lovorn prosecuted the case.