This week we have the sentences given to a so-called man of God and a popular Vietnamese entertainer, both of whom preyed on children.
The former pastor had copped to molesting three little girls in recent years, but prosecutors say they were prepared to include testimony from victims dating as far back as 40 years.
The showman previously pleaded guilty to oral copulation with a 16-year-old boy and trying to commit a lewd act with a minor under age 14—a “boy” who was actually an undercover cop.
Douglas Dale Whinery, a former pastor who also did missionary work at American Indian reservations through his church, pleaded guilty last week to molesting three girls and was immediately sentenced to 18 years in state prison. The 81-year-old Tustin resident, who had pleaded not guilty to charges in April, faced up to 100 years in prison if he'd been found guilty at trial, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. Between January 2005 and June 2006, Whinery invited a 9-year-old girl to go with him to a popular local theme park, but he molested her while she was in his care. Around Nov. 7, 2011, Whinery approached a 10-year-old girl and her 8-year-old female relative in a Tustin park. He befriended their family, gave the brood money for a place to live, took the girls to school, invited them to attend church with him—and had them spend the night in his home. He sexually assaulted the girls, mostly in his home, from November 2011 through this past Easter Sunday. The next day, the younger girl told a family member about the abuse. Whinery had been involved with Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch and Grace Church in Yorba Linda. (Prosecutors say he also had ties to Olive Crest, something denied by officials at the Santa Ana nonprofit for abused and at-risk children.) In court Thursday, what the OCDA called a “powerful” victim impact statement under Marsy's Law was delivered by a now-grown victim: “I cannot separate and move forward from this. I try to imagine what it may have looked like had Dale Whinery never existed. Would I have been afraid? Would I be chronically sad?” Later: “Here is what I do know. I am a survivor. I know God has a purpose here on Earth for me, whether it be to make sure you finally rot in jail or to tell my stories so others can survive, too. Or is it just to raise my little boy into a GREAT man.” She added that she had “contacted churches he worked with and places he 'served.' No one believed me or took steps to even investigate. I think there is much room for growth in our laws, procedures, policies and practices when it comes to pedophiles and protecting children from such predators. More should be done.”
Minh Quang Hong, whose stage name is “Minh Beo” and “Fatty Minh,” was sentenced Friday to 18 months in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration for sexually assaulting a minor boy and attempting to commit a lewd act on a fictitious minor. But Tuoi Tre News, “The News Gateway of Vietnam,” reports Hong will be released some time this week because of time served in jail and good behavior since March. The 38-year-old Garden Grove resident pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to one felony count of oral copulation of a minor and one felony count of attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under 14 years old. Hong traveled from Vietnam to Orange County earlier this year and, at a Huntington Beach radio station talent show on March 20, told dancers he was hosting auditions for a video project. Three days later, he orally copulated a 16-year-old boy who'd come to audition. “He violated his position of trust and exploited his celebrity status,” says the Orange County District Attorney's office. The boy reported the crime to the Garden Grove Police Department, and the next day an undercover officer posing as a minor under the age of 14 communicated with Hong, who set up a meeting for oral sex with what turned out to be a cop. Hong was then arrested. Though he will be kicked from jail soon, Hong will remain on probation and, because he is not an American citizen, it is expected he will return to Vietnam before the end of the year, Tuoi Tre News reports.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.