Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for June 20, 2024






Santa Barbara Courthouse

In a brief hearing underscored by statements from the victim’s parents, Joe Walker of Mammoth Lakes was sentenced to five years in prison and the requirement to register as a sex offender for life.

Walker faced 21 counts of sex-related offenses involving a Santa Barbara girl who was 14 and 15 during the crimes. Walker entered guilty pleas to five counts including unlawful contact with a child with the intent to commit a sex crime, two counts of lewd acts upon a child of 15, oral copulation and conspiracy to commit a crime.  Court documents described instances over two years in which Walker engaged in sexual intercourse with the teenager and encouraged his friend, Dr. Andrew Bourne to do the same. Bourne also faced charges in this case, and he took his own life at the end of January.

Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron said that after a brief sentencing hearing, Walker was remanded into custody of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff for transportation to the Department of Corrections.  She said he was sentenced pursuant to the plea bargain.

Barron also said that she read statements from the victim’s mother and father at the hearing.  The court has withheld names of the victim and parents.  The mother’s two-page statement to Walker said, “You are a user and abuser.  Your narcissistic indulgence in yourself, without giving a second thought to the remorse you bring to others around you, is perverted and cruel.  My daughter begged you to stop.  To go away.  To leave her alone.  She told you that no one should have to endure what you did to her.  You didn’t stop,” read the mother’s statement.

The father’s brief statement said in part, “You took something that was not yours to take.  Something you can never give back.  You have brought pain, shame, heartache, and embarrassment to my family.  You deceived us.”  His statement ended by saying, “You have violated my family and we will never forgive you.”

The civil suit filed by the family against Walker and the estate of Bourne is still pending in Santa Barbara Court.