A Nixa man started serving a 20-year prison sentence for sex crimes against a child in 2020.
Donald Whitworth, 69, made an Alford plea to a charge of statutory sodomy with a person less than 12 years of age, and two charges of first-degree child molestation. An Alford plea occurs when a defendant in a criminal court case declines to admit guilt, but admits that prosecuting attorneys have enough evidence mounted against him/her to result in a conviction if the case were to go through a trial.
Christian County Presiding Judge Laura Johnson sentenced Whitworth to 10 years in prison on the sodomy plea and 10 years in prison on each of the child molestation pleas. The judge ordered that the sentence for molestation run consecutive to the sentence for sodomy, meaning that Whitworth is sentenced to a total of 20 years in a state prison.
Whitworth was arrested Jan. 2, 2020.
In a probable cause statement, a Nixa police officer wrote that Whitworth was charged after a boy came forward to his mother. The boy was then interviewed at Child Advocacy Center in Springfield.
The Nixa detective recounts multiple instances in which the boy described Whitworth touching him inappropriately above and under his clothes, including instances of sex acts. Incidents allegedly occurred at Whitworth’s home in Nixa and once at an amusement park in Stone County.
“(Whitworth) attempted to conceal the acts conducted with (the boy) by telling him to not tell anyone because it was a secret,” the probable cause statement reads.
Under Missouri law, statutory sodomy on a person less than 12 years of age is considered an aggravated offense because of the victim’s age. The authorized term for a conviction of an aggravated unclassified felony in Missouri is life imprisonment, or a minimum of at least 10 years in prison.
Whitworth is being held at the Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center in Fulton.
Editor’s note: In the Headliner News’ coverage of court cases involving minors, especially with allegations of sex crimes or molestation, some details found in court documents are intentionally omitted. This is done in effort to adhere to the Headliner News’ policies for news coverage and to protect the identities of minors and/or the victims of sexual offenses.