A Lacey man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two counts of first-degree child rape after assaulting a girl he was babysitting.
Jonathan Ralph, 34, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court. The sentence includes lifetime probation and a lifetime no-contact with minors order. The no-contact order includes Ralph’s own children, according to Judge Anne Hirsch.
Police officers arrested Ralph Aug. 15, 2014, on suspicion he had molested a 9-year-old girl whom his girlfriend had been babysitting the month before, according to court documents.
Ralph admitted to touching the girl on at least two occasions and also admitted to touching his girlfriend’s daughter, according to documents. However, he was charged for only one victim.
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Ralph was initially charged with three counts of first-degree child rape, but pleaded guilty in June to two counts as part of an Alford plea deal, in which a defendant admits evidence is sufficient to be found guilty at a trial.
At Monday’s court hearing, Lacey police Detective Jon Mason said that Ralph is a “substantial danger to the community.” Mason said he had concerns because Ralph had admitted to victimizing at least two children.
The victim’s mother addressed the court. She explained her family’s struggle since the incident and how her daughter is now in counseling.
Ralph sobbed as he spoke to the court and apologized for his actions.
“I understand the severity of this crime,” Ralph said. “I severely apologize to the victim and the family for all that has happened.”
Prosecutors had initially recommended a sentence of 140 months to life. Judge Anne Hirsch adopted the lower end of the sentencing range and said that Ralph had abused a position of trust.
“You violated the trust of a 9-year-old whose family allowed you to care for her,” Hirsch said.