Defendant Larry Robert Whyte, 71-year-old, was sentenced today by the Honorable Peter Ottenweller to serve 32 years, 4 months-to-life in state prison after having been convicted by a jury in January of committing 10 felony sex offenses against a child.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was a really tragic case. The victim was abused from a very young age causing significant emotional trauma. She showed amazing strength in facing this defendant in court, and she can now know she is responsible for preventing him from having access to any other potential victims.”
Whyte, who spent time traveling with his RV between Arizona, California and Oregon, would regularly spend a few months of the year in Sonoma County. While here, he had regular and recurring access to the victim in this case. When the victim was around 7 years old and Whyte was around 60, Whyte began introducing and normalizing sexualized behavior with the young child. He then continued to engage in sexual behavior with the child for years. At the conclusion of the trial, Whyte was convicted of sexual penetration of a child 10 years old or younger, numerous separate charges of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and oral copulation with a child under the age of 16. Whyte was also convicted of creating and possessing child pornography based on graphic pictures he had taken of the young child which were discovered during a search of his RV following his arrest. Whyte currently faces similar charges in Oregon.
At the sentencing hearing, the victim explained that Whyte’s manipulation of her is what allowed the abuse to continue for as long as it did. For years she did not have the strength to face him in court, nor the strength to tell her story to strangers. The victim also explained the abuse had impacted her life in horrible ways. The victim, who previously testified at trial, expressed being thankful that she was strong enough to get justice for all the damage Whyte has caused, and told the court she did not think Whyte should ever be let out of prison.
In imposing Whyte’s sentence, Judge Ottenweller adopted the prison sentence recommended by the District Attorney’s Office. He noted that Whyte took advantage of a position of trust during the commission of the crimes, that Whyte’s crimes demonstrated planning over a long period of time and that the crimes resulted in the victimization of an especially vulnerable victim. Whyte, given an opportunity to address the court at the sentencing hearing Whyte stated, “I don’t feel remorse.”
Due to California’s “elderly parole program” it is anticipated Whyte’s first parole hearing will be in 2043.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Andrew Lukas with the assistance of District Attorney Investigator Ken Pistorio and Victim Advocate Rocio Torres-Murphy. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department headed the investigation.