Carson man in court Monday for ’79 Canada rape case |

Carson man in court Monday for ’79 Canada rape case

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A hearing on Monday in Reno federal court will determine if a Carson City man will be extradited to Canada to face charges in the 1979 rape of a 9-year-old girl.

Wilbur James Ventling, 63, is being held in the Washoe County Jail on a Vernon, British Columbia, warrant charging him with rape with intent to wound. He was arrested Oct. 8 at his Carson City home.

Ventling, a registered sex offender, has lived in Carson City since his release from prison in November 2004. He was serving 20 years for two counts of lewdness with a minor and one count of attempted sexual assault in Las Vegas in 1980.

According to U.S. District Court filings from Tuesday in the Canadian case, Ventling was arrested for the rape in Alberta, Canada, in 1979, but a day after being ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, he fled the country, presumably to the U.S. where he committed the offenses for which he was imprisoned.

The details of the 1979 Canada rape also were included in a request for extradition filed on behalf of Canadian authorities by Assistant United States Attorney James Keller.

Ventling is accused of luring a 9-year-old girl on May 27, 1979, from a community swimming pool in Vernon, British Columbia, on the pretext that he’d lost his Siamese cat. The records charge that Ventling offered the child $10 to help him find the cat.

Once out of the public eye, he allegedly questioned her on what color her underwear was and then grabbed her and put his hand over her mouth and ordered her to remove her pants. The victim told police that during the rape the man put her sweater over her head and threatened to smother her if she screamed. Ventling allegedly used Dairy Queen napkins to wipe her off and told the child that he’d give her money when he saw her at the recreation center again. He then left.

The girl, according to the court records, made her way down a hillside to a home where she told a woman what had happened. The woman told police that the girl was bleeding profusely and the child had asked her if she could take a bath. The woman called police.

Doctors reported to authorities that the victim was so brutalized that surgery was required to repair flesh tears and a torn artery.

According to the report, by the time the child had arrived at the hospital, she’d lost, “500 milliliters of blood, a significant loss for a victim that age and size.”

During surgery, the girl suffered an additional loss of one liter of blood, the report states.

Ventling, then living under the name of John James Stewart, became a suspect in the Vernon rape because he was already a suspect in nine other rapes of girls ages 8-13 that had occurred in Calgary.

In the Calgary rapes, a memo went out a month before the Vernon rape that stated “the suspect’s modus operandi was to lure his victims into the bush area by offering a reward to help him look for a dog or other article.”

Once Ventling was arrested, authorities were able to match his fingerprints with a print left on a Dairy Queen napkin found at the scene of the Vernon assault, the report states. The prints also aided police in determining Ventling’s true identity and that he was wanted for escaping a Colorado institution, according to the report.

The details and disposition of the Colorado case are not available.

In 2005, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable was reviewing the Vernon rape case when he submitted the child’s clothing and the items of DNA recovered at the rape scene for international DNA comparison. The report states the DNA came back as a match to Ventling, who, as a registered sex offender in Nevada, was required to submit his DNA to the state repository.

Ventling will be represented in Monday’s hearing by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.