Alleged serial child rapist captured, victim spent last 2 decades living in fear


by Joann Dickson

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 3 at 7:13 PM

(WHAS11) - “Nightmares, night terrors and you also wonder if he's out there somewhere. What happens if I run into him at the grocery store?" said David Wheatley’s alleged victim, who asked us to call her “Leah”.

Leah, spent nearly two decades living in fear of David Wheatley, who Leah says commanded her Naval Sea Cadets Unit.

“All the kids looked up to him. He showed us how to march. I was 16 at the time,” she said.

But that trust was betrayed when Leah went to Wheatley's apartment back in 1991 to pick up uniforms.

“He ended up raping me and I ended up getting pregnant from it,” Leah said. “And I had to give my daughter up for adoption because I was 16 at the time.”

A police report was taken, but Wheatley was not charged with Leah's rape.

Wheatley was later charged with and convicted of other sex crimes.

He escaped from a half-way house in 2003, the same year for which he was indicted in the rape of another 16-year-old whom he also impregnated.

Wheatley evaded police for five years, allegedly raping and sodomizing other girls, including a 7-year-old family member.

He used aliases and disguises to avoid capture.

“He's a master con man, saying he's a police officer. He has uniforms that look like police uniforms. He says he's a Marine,” Leah said of Wheatley, who has never worked in law enforcement or served in the military.

After being spotted at Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville in 2008, a campus-wide alert was issued.

U.S. Marshals also called for information about his whereabouts.

“This man's dangerous. There's no telling what he will do to avoid apprehension,” said Rich Knighten at the time. “There's no telling what he'll do to victimize others and what we want to do is get him off the street.”

After appearing on ‘America's Most Wanted’, Weatley was finally captured at an Elizabethtown motel.

A detective finally came to interview Leah.

“He told me they found thousands and thousands of pictures of other victims, underage girls that he apparently had slept with also,” Leah said.

Leah says that many victims may have been spared had Wheatley been captured sooner.

“In my case, the system failed. My life has been an utter hell, having to worry that he's been out there,” she said.

Wheatley is now under a $100,000 bond.

He's scheduled to be arraigned on the latest two rape charges Monday morning.