A 45-year-old man claims he was intoxicated when he kissed and groped a young girl.
Ruperto Huvens Hernandez of Kennewick was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading guilty to communication with a minor for immoral purposes in the 2006 incident.
Court documents show that after Hernandez groped the girl, she said she didn't like what he was doing and left the room. Hernandez later apologized and blamed the incident on his drinking, then told her not to share it with others because he didn't want to go to jail, documents said.
Hernandez originally was charged with first-degree child molestation, a felony. It was reduced to a misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement.
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Deputy Prosecutor Julie Long explained in court documents that Hernandez had no criminal history before this incident and that there was a five-year delay in the victim reporting it to her mother.
The victim and her mother supported the change to avoid a trial, and reducing the charge would still hold Hernandez accountable, Long wrote.
The girl reportedly has been in counseling to address the ongoing effects of the molestation.
After the jail term, he will be on supervision for one year.