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Sex Offender Misses Sentencing, Found Dead

12-1-2007 Connecticut:

A man who sexually assaulted four underage girls was found dead after missing his sentencing hearing Friday, according to television news reports.

WTIC-TV, Fox 61, and WFSB-TV, Channel 3, reported Friday that Brian J. Woolf, attorney for Aaron Whitney, told them that when authorities went to re-arrest Whitney after his failure to appear in Superior Court in Middletown, they found his bedroom door locked. When authorities forced their way inside, they found that Whitney apparently had hanged himself with bedsheets, Fox 61 reported.

The station reported that the body had been taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy, but neither that office nor state police would confirm the details late Friday.

Had he shown up in court Friday, Whitney would have been sentenced for having sex with four underage girls he met on the Internet.

But while the judge and lawyers involved in the case were waiting for him, the 28-year-old Chaplin resident was holed up in his bedroom, refusing his father's requests to come out.

Woolf, who had spoken to Whitney's father by phone earlier Friday morning, told the judge: "Aaron has taken an excessive amount of prescribed medications and locked himself in his room. I suggested that he be taken to the hospital, but he refuses to go to the hospital and he refuses to come to court."

The plan was to re-arrest Whitney, who pleaded guilty in September to four counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of risk of injury to a minor, to hold him on $1.2 million bail once he was taken into custody. Whitney had also faced a jury trial for similar charges involving other underage girls; the trial would have begun in Superior Court in Rockville on Dec. 12. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

After explaining his client's whereabouts Friday, Woolf mentioned the upcoming proceedings in Rockville as a possible reason for Whitney's absence, but Judge Frank Iannotti had little patience with Whitney's actions.

"To be honest, we have continued this case many times. I have given you fair opportunity to work out the other matter in Rockville," said Iannotti who ordered a warrant for Whitney's arrest. "Apparently, he did something and it's clear that it's his intention not to be here. He knew he had to be here, and he did something not to be here."

The sexual assault and risk of injury charges involve four underage girls Whitney met and conversed with on in 2005 or 2006. In each instance, Whitney arranged to meet the girl and then brought her to either his Chaplin home or, in one case, a Portland motel, where he plied her with alcohol and prescription painkillers before having sex with her. Second-degree sexual assault carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while first-degree risk of injury to a minor carries a maximum of 20 years. Whitney would have had to register as a sex offender and undergo sexual assault evaluation treatment.

Outside the courtroom Friday and before reports surfaced of Whitney's death, Woolf said he was not sure whether he would continue to represent Whitney.

"I don't know if I can, because I was a witness to his failure to appear," Woolf said. "Based upon the charges which he pled to here, as well as what he is facing in Rockville, which is much more serious, I believe that put him over the edge." ..more.. by Melissa Pionzio at


Offender's Death Ruled A Suicide

12-2-2007 Connecticut:

Aaron Whitney, a Chaplin man scheduled to be sentenced Friday for sexually assaulting underage girls, committed suicide, according to the office of the chief medical examiner.

Whitney, 28, died of asphyxia as a result of hanging, according to the medical examiner's office.

When Whitney failed to show up for his sentencing in Superior Court in Middletown on Friday, Whitney's lawyer, Brian J. Woolf, told Judge Frank Iannotti that Whitney had taken an "excessive amount" of prescribed medication and locked himself in his room, refusing to go to the hospital or to court.

Whitney pleaded guilty in September to four counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of risk of injury to a minor. He was accused of finding the girls on and then meeting them, plying them with alcohol and prescription painkillers, and having sex with them.

He also faced a jury trial in Rockville for similar charges involving other underage girls. ..more.. by The Hartford Courant

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