Wednesday, August 20, 2008
News staff writer
A former police officer facing first-degree rape and sex abuse charges involving a child has been arrested in Washington state after leaving a note at the Birmingham airport saying law enforcement officers would not find him.
Ronald L. Whitworth Jr., 35, had been listed as one of the U.S. Secret Service's most wanted fugitives before he was caught at an apartment near Tacoma on Monday night. Whitworth was wanted on a federal warrant stemming from federal charges of possessing child pornography and transporting a minor across state lines, authorities said.
Shelby County sheriff's investigators arrested Whitworth, a former Vestavia Hills police officer, in April on charges of child endangerment, sexual abuse of a child under 12, rape and sodomy. He made bond a week later.
A search of his home on May 2 by the Secret Service's Birmingham Electronic Crimes Task Force turned up images of child pornography, including 250 movie files on Whitworth's computer, authorities said.
Finally, a PROPER use of law enforcement resources. My question is why he was ever granted bond in the first place?