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

Personal information

  • Whitaker, Ryan Dee
  • Born: 1953
  • Gender: Male

Case summary

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Last known status: 2023 - registered sex offender in Washington state

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 sexually molested many other girls around the ages of 3-9 years old. His youngest sister was allegedly abused by him when she was nine. Other family members reported that he abused them as well. In the 1980s, Whitaker was allegedly seen abusing a 3-year-old girl by the girl’s father. The father reported it to the 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.”

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LDS/Mormon church membership history

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LDS mission information

The accused served a full-time LDS mission in the Spain - unknown city/area mission from to .

LDS temple marriage information

The accused was married (sealed) in the Salt Lake Temple Mormon temple in .

LDS church positions ever held by the accused: Primary teacher Sunday school teacher
LDS church positions held by the accused at the time of the alleged crime(s): Sunday School teacher
LDS church positions held by the accused at the time of being publicly accused:

Alleged crime(s)

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Alleged victim(s)

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  • Number of alleged victim(s) - note if approximate: 2
  • Average age of alleged victim(s) at time of alleged crime(s):


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Criminal charge(s)

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Criminal verdict(s)

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Criminal sentence

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Prison time

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Other court cases

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LDS church response(s)

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  • Alleged failure to report by local LDS leaders? no
  • Alleged misconduct by local LDS leaders? no
  • Alleged misconduct by global LDS leaders? no

FLOODLIT is not aware whether the Mormon church paid any settlement amounts related to this case.

View all Mormon sexual abuse settlements


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