Iowa State student addresses her attacker during sentencing

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NEVADA, Iowa — A former Iowa State University student will avoid prison but be required to register as a sex offender for assaulting an unconscious female student after a party.

Patrick Whetstone, 21, received his sentence Thursday, Sept. 29, after pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

Under a plea agreement accepted by Judge James McGlynn, Whetstone will be on probation for two years, followed by 10 years of monitoring as a sex offender. That means he will be listed on the state registry and will have to report his address and social media usernames to authorities. He is also required to undergo evaluation and potential treatment.

McGlynn says he believes the sentence will protect the community and allow Whetstone to be rehabilitated.

The judge told Whetstone to get consent from sexual partners and, “if you don’t have that, then stop.”

The victim, 21-year-old Melissa Maher, told police she became ill from drinking on March 30, 2014, after an on-campus party and fell asleep. She says she woke up to find Whetstone assaulting her.

The Texas woman says Whetstone changed her life forever.

The Associated Press does not generally name victims of sex assaults. But Maher said Thursday that she wanted to come forward.

Maher spoke at the sentencing, describing how the assault had “turned her life upside down.” She told Whetstone that “you touched my soul in a way that haunts me in my sleep.” She spoke of having panic attacks and losing friends who didn’t believe her.

The woman told one of Whetstone’s attorneys that she’s never been so “verbally disrespected by anybody in my entire life.”

Maher said the plea agreement will enable her to “go on with” her life.

Whetstone declined to speak at the hearing.

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