MARIETTA - A young father was sentenced Monday to six months in the Washington County Jail for his sexual relationship with the child's minor mother.
Derik Wittekind, 21, last known address 112 Maple St., Apt. 1, Marietta, was sentenced on a fourth-degree felony charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Wittekind was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a female that he met online around December 2010, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider. At that time, Wittekind was 19 and the victim was 14. The relationship resulted in a pregnancy and the victim gave birth in February at the age of 15.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Marietta resident Derik Wittekind, 21, right, signs the papers acknowledging his status as a tier-one sex offender Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court as public defender Shawna Landaker, left, watches.
Though the victim's sister told officials she was aware of the relationship as early as June 2011, a report was not filed with the police until April, two months after the couple's child was born.
"The state believes the defendant ought to go to prison for this, even if the state legislature doesn't agree," Schneider said, referencing House Bill 86 which doesn't recommend prison sentences for most fourth- and fifth-degree felonies.
Public defender Shawna Landaker said Wittekind had met the victim online and initially thought she was older.
"He found out how old she was, did the responsible thing and ended it," said Landaker.
However, the break-up lasted only a few months, she said, and Wittekind resumed his relationship with the girl.
In handing down his sentencing, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane pointed to the victim's age and the resulting pregnancy as factors that added to the severity of the crime.
In addition to jail time, Wittekind was sentenced to five years of community control sanctions and he is required to register as a tier-one sex offender.
There was some question as to Wittekind's eligibility for the SEPTA program because of a pending public indecency charge in Marietta Municipal Court. However, Landaker said that case will be closed soon and she will make sure her client is SEPTA eligible.
Lane said Wittekind will be permitted to take the first bed available at the SEPTA Correctional Facility after serving five months in the county jail.
Wittekind could have received a maximum of 18 months jail time, said Schneider. Additionally, Wittekind's relationship with the minor is apparently ongoing, he said.
The victim and the couple's 10-month-old child attended the sentencing with Wittekind's mother. Neither the girl nor Wittekind chose to make a statement.