Charges dropped against Hanford Patrol officer

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldApril 25, 2013 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Date: June 22, 2013 Molestation charges dropped against man Child molestation charges have been dropped against a Richland man because of new information that’s come to light. Brandon W. Patton, 30, recently learned that prosecutors were dismissing the Benton County Superior Court case. Earlier this year, he pleaded innocent to two counts of first-degree child molestation with aggravating circumstances. Patton is owner of Real Estate Market Leaders of the Tri-Cities and a Hanford Patrol officer. The case was filed after the young girl told authorities that Patton inappropriately touched her on numerous occasions. Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra wrote in court documents that a recent disclosure suggests another suspect was responsible and “would cast reasonable doubt in this case.”

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A Hanford Patrol officer and owner of a Tri-City real estate company is accused of molesting a young girl for more than a year.

Brandon W. Patton, 30, faces trial June 3 in Benton County Superior Court.

He has pleaded innocent to two counts of first-degree child molestation. Both charges include aggravating circumstances that Patton allegedly used his position of trust to commit the crimes.

The young girl told her friend in late January that Patton had been molesting her, according to court documents. The friend then told her own mother, who called Child Protective Services.

A police officer went to the girl's school in early February as part of the investigation. During an interview, the girl disclosed that Patton had inappropriately touched her on numerous occasions and it made her very scared, documents said.

It allegedly started before last summer and possibly as early as December 2011.

The girl reported that she once found Patton's cellphone recording her and she stopped it, court documents said.

The interviewer noted that the girl looked frightened, was hesitant to talk and would wring her hands while holding onto a knit cap. "The child indicated she was very worried and that this was very hard for her to talk about," documents said.

Patton's biography on his Real Estate Market Leaders website said he has been with Hanford Patrol since 2004. It also shows that he is owner and designated broker of the real estate company.

Hanford Patrol is described as being the site's armed security presence "to ensure that special nuclear materials are protected, as well as protecting government property and classified information."

Rae Weil, a spokeswoman for Mission Support Alliance, which oversees security services at Hanford, confirmed that Patton is on Patrol. However, she couldn't comment on Patton's current status -- whether he is active or on suspension -- because that is a personnel issue.

The Richland man has been out of custody after posting $15,000 bail.

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