was an LDS church member and divorce lawyer in Vancouver, Washington; charged with sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in his Sunday School class during church meetings; found guilty; registered sex offender

Case Summary

Ryan Whitaker was an LDS church member and divorce attorney with an office on Main Street in Vancouver, Washington.

He was charged with rape of a child and child molestation.

The alleged abuse happened at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located on Northeast 50th Avenue in Vancouver, WA.

Authorities said the victim alerted her parents and a bishop at the church.

A witness also told the sheriff’s office that Whitaker was seen paying special attention to the girl, court documents said.

As of 2023, Whitaker is a registered sex offender in Washington state.

He served 7.5 years in a Washington prison out of his seven years to life sentence.

2023-03-24: According to FLOODLIT’s sources, Whitaker may have sexually molested other girls around the ages of 3-9 years old. In the 1980s, Whitaker was allegedly seen abusing a 3-year-old girl by the girl’s father. The father reported it to an LDS bishop, who allegedly never reported it to the authorities.

In his local LDS ward, Whitaker frequently served small children, from the nursery age to 8- and 9-year-olds.

2011-11-22 – The Columbian:

“A Vancouver divorce attorney has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in his Sunday school class.

Ryan D. Whitaker, 58, made his first appearance Wednesday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of first-degree child molestation and two counts of first-degree rape of a child.

In the courtroom, Whitaker claimed he did not know his accuser.

Judge Rich Melnick set bail at $20,000 and appointed attorney Steven Rucker to represent Whitaker because Whitaker said he cannot afford his own attorney.

He was in the Clark County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Whitaker was arrested by Clark County sheriff’s deputies just before 1 p.m. Tuesday at his downtown Vancouver law firm. Court documents reveal the girl said that Whitaker had sexually abused her on several occasions during services at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 9700 block of Northeast 50th Avenue.

The girl said the alleged abuse occurred between February and September of this year. The alleged victim alerted a bishop and her parents, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court.

A witness told sheriff’s investigators that he noticed Whitaker paid special attention to the girl. Whitaker declined to make a statement, according to the affidavit.

According to state bar records, Whitaker has been a lawyer since 1992 and has handled civil litigation, criminal, probate, family law and personal injury cases. Whitaker’s law firm website lists him as specializing in family law.

A call to his law firm Wednesday went unanswered.

Whitaker and his wife, [redacted by FLOODLIT], have lived in Clark County for 12 years, according to court documents. They have no children in the home.

In June, The Columbian ran a feature article on Whitaker detailing his penchant for running barefoot.

He will be arraigned Dec. 7. Melnick said a visiting judge from outside Clark County might be assigned the case.”

Sources
  1. Vancouver attorney accused of abusing girl in Sunday school
    view source details | 22 Nov 2011 | The Columbian
  2. source 1
    view source details | |
  3. source 2
    view source details | |
  4. Ryan Dee Whitaker
    view source details | 13 Mar 2023 | Offender Radar
Sources excerpts

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.