MOSES LAKE — A Moses Lake man will be serving a minimum of 98 months, a little over eight years, in prison after he previously pleaded guilty in a child molestation case.
LeRoyce Ethington, 69, of Moses Lake, previously entered guilty pleas in Grant County Superior Court to three counts of first-degree child molestation. He was initially charged with first-degree rape of a child and five counts of first-degree child molestation, but the charges were amended in a plea agreement.
There was a previous agreement in place between the prosecution and defense to recommend Ethington be sentenced under a special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SOSA) if he satisfied the statutory requirements and his evaluation showed he was amenable to treatment. The evaluation, performed by a state-certified sex offender treatment professional, showed Ethington is amenable to treatment, according to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Alan White.
Judges have the authority to use SOSA or not. In the Ethington case the judge did not follow the recommendation and instead sentenced Ethington to a minimum of 98 months, a little over eight years, in prison and a maximum term of life. In the sentencing of serious sex offenses judges are required to set the minimum time the defendant will serve and the maximum time the defendant can serve. The maximum sentence the judge must impose is the maximum for that particular category of crime.
“Child molestation first-degree is an A-level felony so the maximum sentence that one could legally get would be life imprisonment. So the judge set the minimum and the maximum. After the defendant serves the minimum time the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board (ISRB) decides when he is released – not the court, not the judge,” White explained.
The investigation into Ethington was launched after MACC Dispatch received a call from a woman who advised that her young niece had made some allegations of sexual abuse. Court documents state Ethington had been living with the young victim when he sexually assaulted her. The victim detailed several instances in which Ethington inappropriately touched her and she said she went as far as putting a sign up on her bedroom door telling Ethington not to come in.
Ethington admitted to touching the victim, as well as a toddler-aged girl, in a phone call with a family member. He allegedly stated he didn't think the young victim “knew what was going on and she didn't put up a fight.”
In another phone call with a family member Ethington admitted to inappropriately touching three other young girls and police records state at least five children, four boys and the older female victim, were living at Ethington's home when the abuse occurred.
Ethington's defense attorney previously stated Ethington has showed remorse for what he did and confessed to the parents of the victims before the charges were filed against him.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.