Math teacher sentenced to year for molesting girl in Richland

Tri-City HeraldJuly 5, 2013 

— A math teacher has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to molesting an elementary school-aged girl in Richland.

Stephen Pratt Brown, 46, worked at Sunnyside High School but resigned after he committed the crime last summer and before the 2012-13 school year started. The Sunnyside School District turned the matter over to the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, said district Superintendent Rick Cole.

Richland police were contacted last July by a mother who reported her daughter had been touched inappropriately at a community swimming pool off Pine Street near Oak Park in Richland. The child said at first she thought Brown had touched her accidentally, but then he touched the crotch of her swimming suit several times.

She left the pool and told her mother about the incident several days later, according to court documents.

Police later received a Child Protective Services report from a mental health counselor saying Brown had admitted to touching at least two females inappropriately while at a Richland swimming pool. Brown had gone to the counselor at the direction of his attorney, according to court documents.

Judge Vic VanderSchoor of Benton County Superior Court sentenced Brown to five years and eight months in jail, but suspended all but a year of the sentence under the special sex offender sentencing alternative program.

The alternative sentencing program reduces time behind bars, but requires successful completion of sexual deviancy treatment.

Brown is prohibited from contact with minors and can hold no position of authority or trust involving children, including as a teacher. Any job, volunteer work or church activities must be approved in advance by a therapist and community corrections officer.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has not included his name on a list of teachers with state licensing actions, including revocations and surrenders. However, names are not included until investigations are final. A spokeswoman for the office could not determine with limited staff available Friday if there is an open investigation on Brown.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com

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