Sentencing delayed in sex offender case

Jan. 13—CATLETTSBURG — A Boyd County Circuit Court Judge found his hands legally tied Thursday when he couldn't sentence a man caught red-handed molesting children because the necessary paperwork was incomplete.

David K. Whitt, 37, was due to be sentenced to 30 years in the slammer for his offense. However, when Judge John Vincent called his case, the public defender's office brought up a problem.

"We haven't received his SOAR report or his PSI," the attorney said.

Despite family of the victims in the gallery, the judge couldn't do anything at that point.

"I know that this is an inconvenience to all who came to this hearing, but that is the requirement of the law," Vincent said.

Every defendant who is convicted of a felony in Kentucky has the right to undergo a pre-sentence investigation report, which includes background information about themselves, prior crimes and the like. That information is generally used for corrections to get the convict the necessary treatment and programming he or she needs while incarcerated.

In most cases, the pre-sentence report can be waived at the time a defendant enters into a plea deal so they can be sentenced the same day.

However, in the case of sex offenders, they don't have that option. Instead, they need to undergo a Sex Offender Accountability Report along with a PSI before they can legally be sentenced.

The SOAR Report investigates the defendant's response to treatment, psychiatric condition and acceptance of responsibility for their crime.

While the probation and parole department had Whitt's PSI complete and handed it over to the defense at the hearing, the judge couldn't proceed without the SOAR. When asked about the status on the SOAR assessment, the probation officer said he'd have to look into it.

Vincent reset Whitt's hearing for Jan. 26.

Whitt was caught in May 2022 molesting children by a witness. When confronted, he said he'd "been fighting with this for years" before fleeing the scene. Ashland Police Officers arrested him on DUI shortly thereafter.

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