Berlin Rape Suspect Handed Suspended Sentence Days Prior

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested for first-degree rape and first- and second-degree assault late last week just over two weeks after receiving a suspended jail sentence for an assault on the same victim after a year-long pattern of abuse.

Last Thursday, detectives with the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations (WCBI) responded to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury in reference to an alleged rape of a 40-year-old victim. Through the course of the investigation, the suspect in the reported rape was identified as Preston Lewis Whaley, Jr., 42, of Berlin, who has a long and sordid history of physical abuse and protective orders with the alleged victim.

Whaley was subsequently arrested around 11 p.m. last Thursday in Berlin and charged with first-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault, and the violation of a protective order to stay away from the victim. A closer look at the history between the victim and her alleged attacker reveals a pattern of abuse dating back over a year which culminated in his conviction on malicious destruction of property charges, but no jail time, just over two weeks before the alleged rape last Thursday.

In addition, just two days prior to Whaley’s alleged most recent attack on the victim, he twice failed to appear for a scheduled visit with his probation officer. His first visit was scheduled for July 31, and when he failed to appear, the probation officer left a note telling him to report on Aug. 1, just one day before the alleged rape last Thursday.

Whaley was arrested on May 5 and charged with second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and theft after repeated, long-term abuse of the victim. According to the victim’s statement in the court file, the pattern of verbal and physical abuse started in March 2006 when he pushed her to the ground while she was pregnant.

According to the victim’s statement, the abuse continued regularly, two to three times a week, until the May 5 incident that led to Whaley’s arrest. During the first month of her pregnancy, the victim said in her statement Whaley, “struck her in the face countless times and grabbed her arms causing bruises.”

The victim was not around Whaley for the rest of her pregnancy, but returned home in July 2006 and the abuse started again, according to court documents.

“On countless occasions, he [Whaley] has broken through my door and thrown objects at me, injuring me, as well as grabbing, punching, kicking me down the steps and choking me,” the victim’s statement reads.

The victim’s statement also asserts, “This has been going on constantly since March 2006, except for when I was away during pregnancy from April 2006 to July 2006.”

Even after the victim returned with the couple’s newborn son, who a paternity test confirmed belonged to Whaley, the abuse continued and even escalated to a degree, according to the victim’s statement. “He hit me at least three times while I was holding our infant son,” it reads.

On May 5 of this year, the situation boiled to a head when Whaley allegedly broke into the victim’s home, took money, broke her cell phone and broke a vase. He was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property and theft.

On July 17, just 16 days before the rape reported last Thursday, Whaley pleaded guilty in District Court in Snow Hill to malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 60 days in jail with all but 20 days suspended. Whaley was then given credit for the 40 days he had already served in jail while awaiting trial, resulting in a net no new jail time.