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Court roundup: Kennewick man sentenced for child molestation

A 32-year-old man will spend at least four years and nine months in prison for inappropriately touching a toddler in a bathing suit while following her around a Kennewick library.

Jeremy James Walker was sentenced last week in Benton County Superior Court to the mandatory minimum for his sex crime.

How much time he actually spends behind bars beyond that time will be decided by the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board, which will review whether he has participated in treatment or other programs while in prison.

Walker of Kennewick pleaded guilty Oct. 27 to one count of first-degree child molestation.

In addition to the touching, Walker took a picture of the girl with his cellphone and spied on her through book stacks and behind shelves at the Kennewick branch of Mid-Columbia Libraries, court documents said.

He was arrested July 26 after witnesses reported his suspicious behavior to Kennewick police.

It all started when a father and his three young daughters walked from the spray park to the nearby Union Street library.

Video taken inside the building shows Walker following the family around the library and into the bathroom, documents said.

A witness reported seeing Walker watching one of the girls as she sat in a chair and taking her picture with his phone. When the toddler got up, Walker touched her butt several times with his hand before she walked off.

Walker continued to look at the girl "in a very peculiar manner," court documents said.

Officers contacted Walker while he was sitting in front of the library. He reportedly told police "this 'excited him,' he knew it was wrong and he didn't think he would be caught," documents said.

Walker claimed he had fondled children in the past and was evaluated in Minneapolis and found to be attracted to girls ages 3 to 7. The evaluation also allegedly found that he is a danger to himself and others.

Walker planned to use the picture of the young girl from the library for sexual gratification, court documents said.

When Walker in 2010 was kicked out of the Oxford House -- a residential facility for people with drug and alcohol problems -- his room was cleaned and several pairs of little-girl panties were found, documents said.

His criminal history includes a conviction for identity theft.

Prosser teen to spend 2 years in jail for vandalizing high school

A Prosser teen received a two-year prison term for vandalizing his high school three times in two months, including just days after his commencement ceremony.

Benjamin Velasquez, 18, got the recommended sentence for the crime spree that cost Prosser High School more than $400,000 total to clean and repair damaged property.

Velasquez previously pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree burglary and third-degree theft, and one count each of first- and second-degree malicious mischief. The first-degree malicious mischief includes the aggravating circumstance that it was a major economic offense.

He also admitted a second-degree malicious mischief charge for the April vandalism.

Velasquez was the only one of five young men to be charged in all three incidents.

He was a student when he reportedly admitted to vandalizing the school in April and causing $800 in damage. Yet before he was charged in that crime, he returned twice after his June 4 graduation to cause more damage.

On April 19, he helped spray paint exterior security cameras at the school, left black and green graffiti and filled the locks of many exterior doors with unknown substances.

Then on June 6, he returned to the 1203 Prosser Ave. campus overnight with another man and painted several security camera lenses to obscure their identities. The men likely climbed onto the roof and entered through a window.

They broke windows, ceiling tiles and a trophy case, overturned furniture, smeared food and condiments throughout the building and spray painted walls and other surfaces, court documents said.

An autographed Boise State University football jersey belonging to former Prosser football star Kellen Moore was stolen from a case, along with speakers and change from a cash register, documents said.

Ten days later, Velasquez again returned, got in through a different window and spray painted the security cameras.

Damage was similar to the previous break-in, but also included vending machines, gallons of paint dumped on furniture, walls and the floor and emptying fire extinguishers inside the building, court documents said.

The burglars stole items including a TV and a Leatherman tool.

Velasquez and his co-defendants have been ordered to stay off all Prosser School District property, including the high school campus.

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