Man who sexually abused relatives, foster children for years sentenced to prison, Kendall County DA says

Man’s lawyer said ‘he should be given some leniency’ because he’s a veteran with PTSD

Richard Jay Dewhirst. (KSAT)

An area man and foster parent who pleaded guilty to continuous sexual abuse of a child has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The Kendall County Criminal District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that Richard Jay Dewhirst was sentenced for the crimes that date back several years, but there may be more victims.

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On Aug. 30, Dewhirst pleaded guilty to the charges that stemmed from years of sexual abuse against two juvenile family members.

When a search warrant was executed at his home, authorities found hidden cameras inside, including one placed in an air vent above a victim’s bed, the office said.

An unknown number of foster children under Dewhirst’s care more than 20 years ago were also victims of abuse, according to a news release.

During a punishment hearing on Monday, the two family members and a former foster child testified about the abuse and “the struggle of daily life with the offender around,” the release said. At some point, Special Victims Prosecutor Nick Socias said the girls were driven to the point of wanting to commit suicide.

Socias recommended a sentence of life in prison but Dewhirst’s lawyer “argued that since he was a veteran with PTSD, he should be given some leniency,” the office said. Judge Kirsten B. Cohoon sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

“The victims of this monster finally have some closure and some form of justice for what they endured,” Socias said in the release. “For decades this person used his position of trust and power to sexually exploit children. He acted in the most horrific ways that we can imagine on children that looked up to and trusted him. Everyone is thankful that he is in a place where he cannot victimize children anymore.’

The Kendall County District Attorney’s Office is asking possible additional victims to contact law enforcement.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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