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Mammoth Lakes Man Pleads Guilty in Santa Barbara Child Sex Case

Joseph Walker could face 5 years in prison at June 1 sentencing

Mammoth Lakes ski instructor Joseph Walker has pleaded guilty in a Santa Barbara child sex case and will be sentenced June 1.

Joseph Walker
Joseph Walker

Walker, 48, and Dr. Andrew Bourne, 46, also of Mammoth Lakes, were arrested Jan. 4 by Santa Barbara police on suspicion of illegally contacting a minor for sexual activity.

The two friends were released on bail Jan. 10 after entering not guilty pleas in the case, which involved a now-16-year-old Santa Barbara girl whose family was friends with both men.

Bourne committed suicide Jan. 24 and the charges against him were later dropped. Prosecutors subsequently amended the case against Walker and filed 21 charges against him.

Authorities said Walker appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to five felony counts of illegal sexual activity with a minor. He waived his right to a jury trial and could be ordered to serve five years in state prison at his June 1 sentencing.

Santa Barbara police launched an investigation last September after suspicious emails sent to the girl were discovered by one of her parents and reported to authorities. Police said the investigation determined that the relationship between the two men and the girl began two years ago when she was 14. More than 1,000 messages were allegedly emailed to the girl.

Bourne was a vascular surgeon and former chief of staff at Mammoth Hospital as well as a Mammoth Lakes Unified School District trustee. He resigned from the school board on Jan. 13 and the hospital announced it had terminated his contract soon afterward.

Walker is the son of a prominent Mammoth Lakes family and has been described as an “international businessman.”

According to authorities, Bourne and Walker own part-time homes in Santa Barbara and they were friends of the girl’s family.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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