Woman gets 16 years to life for rape of adopted daughter

Date: 2010-03-12

8-Year-Old: Husband sentenced earlier for abusing girl

JEREMY PAWLOSKI

OLYMPIA - A Thurston County judge sentenced a 47-year-old woman to 16 years to life in prison Thursday for raping her 8-year-old adopted daughter.
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Donna Marie Whisenhunt and her husband, Eddy Tony Whisenhunt, were arrested in May after their daughter told a school counselor that her parents had sexually abused her, court papers state.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor sentenced Donna Whisenhunt during a hearing Thursday afternoon. She earlier had pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree child rape as part of a plea deal.

She had no prior criminal history, court papers state.

Eddy Whisenhunt, a former bus driver for Intercity Transit, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison during a hearing in early February.

The Lacey couple adopted the child shortly after her birth in China, Lacey police have said. The sexual abuse occurred over a four-year period, court papers state. Each of the Whisenhunts has told Lacey police that they were unaware the other was sexually abusing the girl, Lacey Police Lt. Jim Mack has said.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Skinder said in a prior interview that the case has negatively affected adoptions bringing children to the United States from China, because the Chinese government is aware of the sexual abuse.

“This is one of those truly heartbreaking cases,” Skinder said after Eddy Whisenhunt’s sentencing in February.

Skinder said Thursday that Donna Whisenhunt apologized during her sentencing and said she hopes the child gets the help she needs. Donna Whisenhunt said she was sexually abused by her own mother when she was a child, Skinder added.

The child was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services. Skinder said in a prior interview that the child is thriving in her new home.

Donna Whisenhunt must undergo sexual-deviancy treatment in prison. After she serves her sentence, the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board will review the case to see whether she is eligible for release.

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