Families say they had no idea 'friendly guy' was convicted sex offender

Published: Aug. 21, 2018 at 4:24 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2018 at 6:43 PM EDT
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EMINENCE, KY (WAVE) - Three young children taken to a home, held against their will and one of them sexually abused while the others couldn't help her -- it's a terrifying scenario for any parent to think about.

Eminence police said the man charged in the crime was already on the sex offender registry and was living within 1,000 feet of a public park -- a violation.

Roderick Dale Whitney, 51, is a convicted sex offender facing new charges that were filed against him during a court appearance for not being compliant with the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry.

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Families of the victims told WAVE 3 News they had no idea Whitney was a convicted sex offender.

They said when it comes to what happened to their kids, they believe he was pretending to be nice to gain their trust.

"She's doing better since we know he got locked up the other day," Lisa Doyle said.

Doyle is talking about her 10-year-old granddaughter and Whitney, the man who police say sexually abused her.

Detectives said on July 25, 2018, Whitney was at an Eminence apartment building, talking to the 10-year-old and her two friends, ages 8 and 7.

"He just pulled up said he had some house work to do and he would give them money to go to the swimming pool if they helped him," Doyle said.

According to Whitney's arrest warrant, when the girls said no, he grabbed them by their shirts and arms, forced them into his vehicle and locked the doors.

Police said the convicted sex offender took the children to his house and forced the 7 and 8-year-olds to start cleaning the walls of his bathroom.

According to the warrant, Whitney said he told the 10-year-old to scrub the carpet with a toothbrush. That's when he got behind her and allegedly committed a sexual act.

"She was saying, 'Help me, help me,' and they was hollering at him to get off her," Doyle said.

The grandmother also said Whitney later brought the girls back to the complex, where his son sometimes hangs out with friends.

"He kind of warmed his way in as being friendly, but now I know the reason he was being friendly," she paused with tears in her eyes. "He had his eye on my granddaughter."

Once the mother of the 10-year-old found out what happened, she contacted the mother of the other two girls -- Kayla Cunningham.

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"I was like, 'Are you serious?'" Cunningham recalled of their conversation. "She was in tears, I was in tears and I couldn't believe it happened."

Whitney is charged with three counts of kidnapping of a minor, one count of sexual abuse of a person under the age of 12, one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of being a registered sex offender in a public playground.

Doyle said her granddaughter has gradually improved since the July incident.

"Since he got arrested," Doyle said, "she's just now starting to get back to where she feels comfortable going outside again."

Cunningham added: "I'm just glad they got him and that he's off the streets because somebody like him needs to be off the streets."

Whitney is being held on a $25,000 full cash bond in Oldham County. He's set to be back in court Aug. 27.

The Kentucky Sex Offender Registry states Whitney was placed in the registry for 20 years after a Jefferson County conviction for unlawful transaction with a minor 1st degree-illegal sexual activity. The registry says the victim was 10-years-old at the time.

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