W. Richland man won't be charged in sex case

No charges will be filed against a West Richland man accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teen girl.

Allegations against

Thomas St. George, who lost his wife in a house fire earlier this year, surfaced when the girl's parents sought a protection order in Benton County Superior Court to keep St. George away from their daughter.

The girl was a baby sitter for St. George's three sons. She denied any sexual involvement with St. George. The 16-year-old since has been emancipated from her parents.

West Richland police investigated the allegations against St. George, and Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said there was "no direct evidence that any crime was committed."

St. George's wife, Sandy, died in March in an early-morning house fire that destroyed the family home. The 26-year-old woman died of smoke inhalation, but the coroner has not yet determined the manner of death.

Thomas St. George said he managed to escape the March 18 blaze after he was awakened by a barking dog. The children were staying at the baby sitter's home that night.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.