Wyatt E. Whitaker, who moved from Virginia to Niagara Falls last year to be with a 15-year-old girl he met online, was sentenced Tuesday to 3½ years in prison for sexually abusing her and another girl, who was 12, in December 2018.
"This is one of the most bizarre fact patterns I've seen in my 30 years," Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said as she denied youthful offender status to Whitaker, 19, for third-degree and attempted first-degree criminal sexual act.
Assistant Public Defender David E. Blackley said the 15-year-old's mother approved Whitaker moving in because she thought Whitaker could help her mentally ill daughter. Blackley called the scenario "a recipe for disaster."
"It's like a made-for-TV movie," Sheldon said.
"What I did was wrong, and I am truly sorry," the tearful Whitaker said.
Sheldon rejected a probation officer's recommendation to place Whitaker on probation. The prison term was the minimum allowed, but Whitaker, who must register as a sex offender, faces 10 years of postrelease supervision.