Ex-VPAT employee offered plea deal, hearing delayed

Ex-VPAT employee offered plea deal, hearing delayed

A former Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre employee arrested last year on a child pornography charge may serve up to two years in state prison if he agrees to a plea deal, Thursday’s discussions in Solano County Superior Court revealed.

Donald Wade Jr., 37, was one of two men arrested in July on suspicion of possessing photos and videos of children changing clothes at the local theater. Wade, along with his co-worker, 35-year-old Thomas McPike, were booked into Solano County Jail after a police investigation into the disturbing allegations. During court discussions last year, it was revealed Wade was allegedly in possession of more than 600 images of youth and videos showing children changing at the Vacaville theater. Police believe the photos and videos were taken between 2012-2013.

Both men are facing child pornography possession charges and McPike is facing an additional invasion of privacy charge.

In February, McPike pleaded no contest to the charges he was facing and is now set to be formally sentenced April 3. As part of the plea deal, McPike is expected to serve the low term lid sentence of 16 months in state prison. The man also will be required to register as a sex offender.

If Wade agrees to plead no contest to the felony charge, he could serve the mid term lid sentence of two years, deputy district attorney Mary Nguyen detailed Thursday morning.

The prosecutor also said Wade could be sentenced to as little as probation, depending on the judge’s discretion.

Thursday McPike, despite not being scheduled on the court calendar, sat in the courtroom’s gallery while Wade’s case was heard by the judge.

Wade was originally arrested July 18 and immediately taken into police custody, according to court records. Wade went on to post bail the following day. At his arraignment in August, he was remanded once again and booked into Solano County Jail, where he remained for nearly two weeks before posting bail Aug. 23.

Accepting the plea deal would allow Wade to forego a jury trial. Pending a response to the district attorney’s offer, Wade is now set to return to court in April in preparation for a probable cause hearing set for May.

McPike is set to be formally sentenced April 3.

Prior to their arrests, the men were employed by Venue Tech, a company contracted by the City of Vacaville to manage the local theater.

According to police, an investigation into the allegations began in April 2016.

Wade will return to court April 26 for a readiness conference and again May 15 for a preliminary hearing.

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