EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) - An East County photographer who pleaded guilty to molesting young girls after getting them to model for him in his studio was scheduled to be sentenced today.
Gary Lee Whiteside, 66, is expected to be sentenced to 60 years to life in prison. Last month, he pleaded guilty to four counts of lewd acts with a minor and admitted an allegation of multiple victims.
Each count carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison, and Judge Louis Hanoian is expected to make the penalties run consecutively when he formally sentences Whiteside today.
Prior to pleading guilty, Whiteside was facing 51 counts involving nine girls and had admitted to inappropriately touching three girls, ages 11, 12 and 13, but not having sex with them.
Investigators believe he molested at least nine girls from 2004 until the FBI received a tip in July 2008 and he was arrested.
At Whiteside's preliminary hearing in January, Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said the defendant invested time, energy and attention on girls who came from difficult home situations where their parents couldn't give them the attention they wanted.
Whiteside was married for 41 years, volunteered for his church and worked with police departments in El Cajon and La Mesa.
A co-defendant, Pauletta Santaua, pleaded guilty to one count of committing a lewd act on a child under 14. The 21-year-old was sentencing in April to a year in jail.
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