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Van Driver, Spouse Accused of Abuse Have Bonds Reduced

05.08.09 02:17 PM – Andy McDonald

© 2009 KYNews.org

BEREA - A Berea man accused of wanton abuse of mentally handicapped adults was given a reduced bond Friday in Madison County District Court.

Ryan L. Whitaker, 27, of Berea, was jailed last month after police say he somehow prompted mentally handicapped people in his care to touch one another in an inappropriate manner.

Based on the fact that he is not considered to be a flight risk, and the fact that he had been jailed for 21 days, Whitaker's bond was reduced to $5,000, of which he has to pay $500 to be released from jail. Story continues below.

Whitaker was scheduled to be tried Friday, but the proceeding was delayed because Berea Police Detective Lee Ann Boyle was out of town on family business.

District Court Judge Brandy Brown agreed to reduce the bond on the condition that Whitaker would remain under house arrest, except for supervised visits with his child, or for job interviews.

According to police, Whitaker was employed as a driver of a van that took mentally challenged adults to an adult daycare facility in Richmond. The van was operated under a contract with P-Cab in Berea.

Police said an investigation revealed that on April 13, 2009, Whitaker allegedly prompted two mentally challenged adult passengers to engage in inappropriate touching, which led to the abuse charges.

The alleged incident came to light when one of the passengers told a caretaker that he no longer wanted to go to the daycare on the transport van, police said.

In an unrelated case, Whitaker was also charged with assault fourth-degree after police say he allegedly committed physical abuse of his three-year-old boy over a three-year period.

Judge Brown ordered Whitaker not to have contact with the child unless it was approved by social services.

A bond for Whitaker’s wife, Debbie L. Whitaker, 23, of Berea, was also reduced Friday to $2,500, of which she'll have to pay $250.

Debbie Whitaker was also charged with assault fourth-degree, for allegedly committing physical abuse of the three-year old child over the same period.

Judge Brown ruled that Debbie Whitaker is not under house arrest, though she can not see her child without prior approval or supervision from child services.

The case is continued until June 19.
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