Crime

He molested a young girl. Now this Benton City man worries about his ‘sex offender’ label

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A Benton City man will spend at least five years and eight months in prison for molesting a grade-school girl over a weekend in January 2018.

Richard E. Worley Jr., 57, was sentenced Wednesday to the mandatory minimum term, but he was told he could be behind bars for the rest of his life depending on the decision of a state board.

His ultimate release date will be based on his behavior and participation in treatment while in prison.

In preparation for his sentencing, Worley told a community corrections officer he hopes to be sent to Airway Heights Corrections Center near Spokane because “it is better for sex offenders there,” according to a report.

Worley also inquired about the rules in prison for extended family visits and how he could go about getting that, the report said.

Concerned about ‘sex offender’ label

“Based on the interview conducted he was mainly concerned about how he would be viewed by other people as a sex offender, and what prison he would be incarcerated at,” wrote community corrections Officer Kyle Nickerson.

Worley otherwise would not talk to Nickerson about the crime without his defense attorney present.

The girl disclosed the sexual abuse to her friend, saying she had been touched inappropriately by Worley. That friend told her own mother, who then notified the girl’s parents so they could talk to her about it, according to court documents.

Asked by her parents what was going on, the girl went into graphic detail about the molestation and how Worley told her not to tell anyone.

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Richard E. Worley Jr., 57, will spend at least five years and eight months in prison for molesting a grade-school girl over a weekend in January 2018. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Worley — who owned Progressive Design and Plumbing for 15 years — was confronted by Benton County sheriff’s detectives and emphatically denied touching the girl.

Refused a polygraph test

He did not hesitate to say “No” when asked if he would take a polygraph examination to help prove his innocence, documents show.

He then explained that in his 56 years of life, “he had heard those things were not very accurate and it would be better not to,” documents said.

Worley initially was charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree child molestation and first-degree child rape.

He pleaded guilty in October to the amended charge of first-degree molestation with the aggravating circumstance that he violated a position of trust to commit the crime.

Child trying to move on

Worley admitted he had been drinking when he had contact with the girl.

The girl’s father told Nickerson for the presentencing report that his daughter was uncomfortable around adult males for about five months after the sexual assault.

He also said they paid for a couple of counseling sessions, but the girl decided after the second session she did not want to talk about the situation anymore and stopped going, the report said.

When Worley gets out of prison, he will be on supervision for the rest of his life.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.


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