KENNEWICK - A Kennewick man who repeatedly has said his sexual assault of a young girl was just "a big misunderstanding" was ordered to prison Wednesday.
Judge Bruce Spanner gave a minimum sentence of four years and three months to Douglas Alford Badeaux, but told the 59-year-old he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Badeaux's ultimate release will be up to the state's indeterminate sentence review board, and will be based on his treatment and rehabilitation while in prison and his risk level for re-offending.
He entered an Alford plea in Benton County Superior Court on Jan. 5 to first-degree child molestation. The plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had "sufficient evidence" to convict him at trial.
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As part of his plea, Badeaux acknowledged he wouldn't be able to ask for a Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative -- which includes shortened jail time and treatment -- because he was "not affirmatively admitting to the conduct of this crime," court documents said.
Documents state that Badeaux was playing a wrestling game with the grade-school girl in December 2009 when he touched her inappropriately. He also previously exposed himself to her, documents said.
Badeaux asked the girl what she would tell her parents if asked about being touched, and told her to say nothing.
But a few months later the girl participated in a "yell and tell" school program sponsored by the Sexual Assault Response Center to teach students about good touching and bad touching, court documents said. She had difficulty sleeping afterward and decided she needed to tell her parents about Badeaux's actions.
The victim's mother and father addressed the judge Wednesday and talked about how their outgoing daughter had become more reserved since the incidents. She has been in counseling, they said.
The parents have said they were upset and angered by Badeaux's lack of remorse and refusal to admit the crime. They wanted Badeaux held accountable for his actions and hoped he would get treatment in prison.
A state Department of Corrections report prepared by officer Dave Smith for sentencing said Badeaux mailed in his information sheet and wrote, "I took an Alford plea that the prosecutor and my 'LAME' lawyer came up with."
Badeaux has no felony convictions, but his record includes a driving under the influence and a fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation that was reduced from third-degree rape. He also was accused of second-degree child molestation in 1993 but the charges reportedly were dismissed at trial due to lack of cooperation from that victim.
Smith wrote that he met with Badeaux in the Benton County jail Feb. 2 to talk about the recent case. "When asked about his current situation, he stated he can't believe all this is happening and it's all just a big misunderstanding," Smith said. "He said if his lawyer would have just listened to his side of the story, he would not be in the position he is today. ... He simply denied all the accusations brought before him."
When asked if he considered himself a sex offender, Badeaux answered "no" and said he would be registering upon his release from prison as a sex offender only because "it's something I have to do because of what I signed."
Badeaux, asked if he would consider sex offender treatment at some point, replied, "If it made me look better, I would."
Smith concluded in his report that Badeaux needs to be responsible for "his poor choices and actions committed against the victim," and said that during his interview Badeaux "never once showed remorse, sympathy or empathy."
Badeaux was ordered to have no contact with the girl for the rest of his life.