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Vancouver man pleads not guilty to child molestation

A former church youth group leader who’s been the subject of an investigation into child molestation was back in Clark County Superior Court on Tuesday to face a new charge.

Robert Wilson Rector, 30, of Vancouver was scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty in November to three counts of third-degree child molestation, court records show. Instead, the hearing was set over to April 10, so Rector could make a first appearance in another child molestation case — involving a fourth victim.

He entered a not-guilty plea to one count of third-degree child molestation. A review hearing is set for the same day as sentencing, Deputy Prosecutor Caitlin Cushing said.

Rector is facing a standard sentencing range of 41 to 54 months in prison on each count, court records show. The defense plans to argue for SSOSA, or a special sex offender sentencing alternative, Cushing said, which could reduce his prison term.

Rector was originally charged in June 2018 with three counts of third-degree child molestation, one count of attempted third-degree child molestation and one count of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office previously said Rector had been involved with multiple youth activity groups since 2009, and his participation included out-of-state travel with the organizations. Court records show some of the reported abuse occurred as long ago as July 2009.

According to multiple affidavits of probable cause, four males described incidents in which Rector touched them sexually. All four said the abuse occurred when they were about 15 years old or younger.

Court records say Rector, who at the time was a leader in a church youth group, would sometimes host gatherings at his home. The victims recalled instances where group members would stay overnight there. They said they woke to find Rector sexually abusing them. One of the victims said Rector also took photos of him while he slept.

When questioned about one of the victim’s allegations, Rector confirmed he hosted a party at his home for members of his Bible study group, which included some high school students. Rector said he sat down next to the teen to wake him in the morning and rubbed his back. He said he “didn’t do anything on purpose,” according to court records, but said he didn’t remember much else from that morning.

In the newest case, the victim contacted the sheriff’s office in December to report the abuse, which had occurred between 2014 and 2016, court records state.

The victim said, “He and the small group spent the night at (Rector’s) house all the time. (Rector) told them that his house was open to anyone that wanted to crash. (The victim) said (Rector) would ask them to spend the night … they would play video games, hang out and even cook at (Rector’s) place,” the affidavit reads.

He said he and a friend had stayed the night at Rector’s apartment. Rector told him he could sleep in his bed. The victim said he woke to find Rector lying beside him and sexually abusing him, according to the affidavit.


Source: https://www.columbian.com

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