A 62-year-old Port Townsend man was arrested Monday in connection with the sexual assault of a 6-year-old boy two years ago, according to documents filed in federal court.

John Timothy Whicher was charged by criminal complaint with two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, accused of assaulting the boy during a trip to Canada.

According to the document of probable cause, the boy went on an August 2017 trip with Whicher to a family cabin in Canada. When he returned, he told his mother that he “had a secret but that Whicher told him he could not share the secret or Whicher would get in trouble,” the document says.

The boy ultimately told his mother that Whicher had licked his genitals while they were at the cabin, an investigator with Homeland Security’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force wrote in a court document.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother said Whicher had planned the trip and bought a plane ticket for her then 6-year-old child as a surprise. She told Port Townsend police that she agreed to the trip because she had a good relationship with Whicher. To protect the boy’s identity, The Seattle Times is not disclosing further information about the connection between Whicher and the boy’s family.

When the boy’s mother confronted Whicher, he responded that he was “just trying to teach (the victim) about the ‘birds and the bees’ and that ‘boys don’t have sex with boys,'” the court documents allege.


In a text message to the boy’s mother, the defendant admitted that he did “wrong things” but denied molesting the boy, the court document says.

Whicher is scheduled to make his first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Monday afternoon.

Engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.