Madison County

Van driver encouraged sexual contact between disabled men, police say

Berea police say a man encouraged two mentally disabled men to make sexual contact on their way to an adult day care last week.

Ryan L. Whitaker of Berea was arrested April 15 on charges of reckless abuse or neglect of an adult. Whitaker was the driver of a van that took Berea adults to Richmond Active Day Center.

Police say Whitaker, 27, encouraged one of the passengers to sexually touch another passenger during the ride to the center April 13.

Berea police and social services had previously started an investigation into Whitaker and his wife, Debbie L. Whitaker, 23, after police received reports that the couple had allegedly kicked their 3-year-old son, Berea Police Capt. Ken Clark said.

Debbie Whitaker also was arrested April 15. The couple were charged with fourth-degree assault. Their son is in the custody of family members.

The Whitakers are being held in Madison County jail on $10,000 cash bond. They are scheduled to appear in court at 10:30 a.m. May 8 in Berea.