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ML man accused of raping, molesting 2 girls

Columbia Basin Herald - 2/13/2018

Feb. 13--Print Article

MOSES LAKE -- A Moses Lake man was charged for allegedly sexually assaulting two young girls at his Moses Lake home.

Grant County prosecutors charged LeRoyce Ethington, 69, of Moses Lake, in Grant County Superior Court with first-degree child rape and three counts of first-degree child molestation.

Police were first made aware of Ethington after a woman contacted MACC Dispatch about a sexual abuse allegation made by her young niece. Court records indicate the victim had been living with the suspect, Ethington, and he had sexually assaulted her. During an interview with investigators the victim detailed several incidents in which Ethington inappropriately touched her. The girl says she went as far as putting some signs up on her bedroom door telling Ethington he is not allowed in her room.

When the allegations were brought up during an interview with investigators, Ethington declined to comment on them. He reportedly said, "well, I think it would probably be best for me to not say anything right now." He claimed he doesn't use physical discipline and only uses verbal discipline.

During a Jan. 23 phone call with a family member Ethington allegedly admitted to inappropriately touching the victim. In addition, he reportedly went on to admit to inappropriately touching a toddler-aged girl in November. Ethington allegedly said he didn't think the young girl "knew what was going on and she didn't put up a fight."

Investigators were also made aware of another phone call between Ethington and a family member in which he allegedly admitted to touching three more young girls. At least five children, four boys and the older female victim, were living at Ethington's home when the abuse reportedly took place. In addition, Ethington also had two 17-year-old boys, who were exchange students, living at his home. The boys were moved to a different home.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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