The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

May 24, 2013

Convicted child molester receives 35-year sentence

ANDERSON, Ind. — A courtroom filled with about 30 divided family members and friends watched an elderly man accused of decades of sexual abuse receive his sentence Friday.

Robert E. Whipple, 78, received a 35-year fully executed sentence after being convicted of Class A felony child molestation earlier in the month. Madison Circuit Court 6 Judge Dennis Carroll determined the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating, and said Whipple abused his position of trust with his victim, his 16-year-old step-granddaughter.

The Herald Bulletin normally doesn’t publish victim’s names, but the step-granddaughter, Destinee, and a niece, Angel, agreed to be identified by their first names.

The conviction was only for the case involving Destinee, who testified she was raped when she was 13 and abused since she was 9 by Whipple. But two other relatives of Whipple, Angel and his 53-year-old biological daughter, testified in sentencing that they had been abused years before Destinee.

Destinee said her short life has already been impacted very negatively because of Whipple, and she still has nightmares of the attacks.

“I’ve never been torn down so much by one person,” the 16-year-old said to the courtroom.

Whipple’s daughter said she’s been waiting 50 years for him to pay for the abuse she suffered. She said knowing Whipple was incarcerated made her recent birthday the happiest of her life.

Support in the family was deeply divided in the courtroom Friday. Whipple’s current wife Mary, and son Ed, said Whipple is a moral and decent man, and claimed his impotency and advanced age made the accusations against him impossible. They argued the rest of the family is out for revenge and money.

“I don’t know what he might have been like before, but for the 21 years I’ve known him, he’s been a good man, and I love him,” Mary Whipple said.

Angel, who testified against Whipple, said some of her earliest memories were being abused by Whipple, and the portrayal of him as a good man is a sham.

She accused Whipple of molesting her in the late 1970s for three or four years before she finally gained the courage to speak up in 1980. Anderson police investigated the allegations and Whipple was convicted of a Class C felony and was punished with two years of counseling.

Carroll said the greatest aggravating factor was the pattern of behavior exhibited by Whipple.

“The evidence we heard speaks to character, and I can’t ignore that,” Carroll said.

Whipple, who has suffered a long list of health issues in recent years, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

Defense attorney John Razumich, who had a motion for a mistrial denied by Carroll before the sentencing, said there could be issues with the conviction heading into appeals. He called into question some of the evidence gathered, and felt the charges should have been reduced to Class B felonies.

“We’re obviously not pleased with the result, but we obviously did the best we could, considering the facts of the case,” Razumich said.

Family and friends supporting Destinee gathered on Level 3 of the Madison County Court Building after the hearing for a somber celebration. Deputy prosecutor Jeff Lockwood said he’s pleased with the sentencing, though the lives of the victims will never be the same.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

1
Text Only
Cops, courts and fires
  • Arrest Log: July 28 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 28, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 27 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday and Saturday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 27, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 26 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Thursday and Friday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 25, 2014

  • County doctor arrested on drug charges

    A Fishers doctor with ties to Pendleton was arrested Friday in a Drug Enforcement Administration raid of numerous doctor’s office in central Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 25 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 25, 2014

  • Accident.jpg Second person dies following Ind. 9 accident

    A second person has died from injuries following an accident Wednesday on Ind. 9. Clayton Crumley, 21, died at IU Health Methodist Hospital, officials said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brown awarded $25,200 settlement A federal jury issued a split verdict in the discrimination case filed by Jack Brown against the city of Anderson that alleged violations of his free speech rights and the American Disabilities Act.

    July 24, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 24 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 24, 2014

  • Appeals Court: Pendleton prison worker harassed Indiana's prison agency forced a former female employee to work in a hostile environment at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled.

    July 23, 2014

  • NWS - HB0724 - Messersmith, Justin Man arrested at fair after witnesses say he battered his son A father was arrested at the Madison County 4-H Fair Tuesday night after witnesses said he went too far in disciplining his 4-year-old son.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide