UW-L Professor Charged With Child Abuse

.jpg photo of No excuse for child abuse sign

A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse education studies professor faces felony charges in a child abuse incident after one of his children accused him of dragging her by her wrist.

Gary Willhite, 62, of Holmen was charged with child abuse and bail jumping Friday for failing to comply with a no-contact order with his minor children. According to a Holmen Police Department report, officers were called to the Willhite residence in Holmen on July 7 for a welfare check.

During the check, the officers noticed one of Willhite’s children had a wrist injury. According to Willhite, the child’s wrist had been injured during an argument during which the child was being “disrespectful.” According to the child, the wrist was hurt when her father grabbed it and pulled her down a hallway toward her room and was possibly sprained.

According to the report, one of the officers reminded Willhite this was not the first time officers had been called to the home on similar complaints. Gary’s wife, Kathy Willhite, 59, is also facing a child abuse charge from an incident in March. She is accused of slapping one of her children in the face and pulling her hair.

Willhite told officers that “they were a dysfunctional family and are getting help.”

The next day, on July 8, Gary Willhite is accused of violating the no-contact order after calling one of his children’s phones twice.

The calls were discovered by officers during the investigation, and Willhite told authorities he had only been trying to locate the phones.

According to UW-L chancellor Joe Gow, Willhite, who has been an employee of the university since 2008, will be allowed to continue teaching an online summer course and will be allowed on campus as the case moves forward.