A North Coast man was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison for sexually assaulting three women.
Parker Philip Whitsett, 22, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted rape in the first degree and guilty to sex abuse in the first degree and attempted sex abuse in the first degree.
The no-contest plea was not an attempt to to evade accountability, James Lee von Boeckmann, Whitsett’s attorney, said, but because he has no memory of the incident since he was intoxicated at the time.
Whitsett was accused of having sex with a woman who was unable to consent while she was unconscious and under the influence of intoxicants at a get-together in December 2017.
At a different gathering in November 2018, he was accused of having sex with a woman while she was unconscious and making sexual contact with another woman who was unable to consent.
Two of the three women abused by Whitsett shared their thoughts prior to sentencing.
“I just hope he gets help,” one woman told the court over the phone.
Another woman was in the courtroom and tearfully gave her testimony.
“I knew Parker before this and I don’t think he’s a bad person even if he did bad things and I do hope that he does get help,” she said. “I just hope he learns from his mistakes and doesn’t make the same ones when he’s free again.”
“I do pray for his family because I do know if I were in this situation this would be really tough,” she said. “I do forgive him and I want to move on with my life and I think that looking forward I have a pretty bright future so I’m not going to let this define me.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dawn Buzzard shared her pride for the women’s strength and called them her heroes.
“I understand I’ve caused a lot of pain and, for that, I’m deeply sorry,” Whitsett said.
“I hope that by the time this is all over I can change the person I am enough to where I can more than make amends for the problems that I caused for these people, and I want to thank them for their willingness to forgive.”
Rape and sex abuse are violent crimes that take something away from a person while they are compromised, so the punishment is severe, Judge Cindee Matyas said.
“We sort of cast off these young women who will have to draw upon their own strength and support and family and their own deep convictions to move out of this,” Matyas said.
“They don’t have the same structured support that offenders do and I think that’s so tragic.”
The judge said the sentence could be an opportunity for Whitsett to learn and change, which would be a success for the women who were brave enough to come forward.
“It’s just kind of the culture we live in, sadly,” Matyas said. “But they’ll know that they have suffered not in vain, but for some purpose and that will be a good outcome, Mr. Whitsett, so you have a lot of work to do.”