An 81-year-old former missionary from Tustin was sentenced to nearly two decades in state prison for sexually assaulting three girls under the age of 10, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
At the time of the crimes, Douglas Dale Whinery was a former pastor and missionary and was actively involved at Olive Crest Church in Santa Ana, Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch, and Grace Church in Yorba Linda, the DA’s office said.
He was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to seven felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. He had a sentencing enhancement for abusing multiple victims.
In one case that occurred between January 2005 and June 2006, Whinery invited a 9-year-old girl and her sister to California to go to a local theme park. Whinery molested the girl while she was in his care.
Then, in November 2011, Whinery befriended a 10-year-old girl and her 8-year-old relative while they were in a Tustin park. He “groomed” them, taking the victims to school and inviting them to church, and getting to know a family member.
He sexually assaulted both victims while he was alone with them — in crimes that occurred until March 2016. Whinery was arrested by Tustin police on March 30, after the youngest girl told a family member about the assaults. The family member contacted police.
Multiple other victims whose allegations did not result in charges were prepared to testify against Whinery, the DA’s office said. The alleged assaults went back as far as 40 years.
In court, one victim said she cannot “move forward.” She said she had contact churches Whinery worked at, but no one believed her story or tried to investigate, the DA’s office said.
“I try to imagine what it may have looked like had Dale Whinery never existed. Would I have been afraid? Would I be chronically sad?” she said. “Here is what I do know: I am a survivor. I know God has a purpose here on earth for me, whether it be to make sure you finally rot in jail or to tell my stories so others can survive too.”