Crime

Lacey man pleads guilty to raping girl he was babysitting

A Lacey man has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree child rape after assaulting a girl he was babysitting.

Jonathan Leon Ralph, 34, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree child rape. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 140 months to life, plus lifetime probation. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3.

Ralph pled guilty to molesting a 9-year-old girl in the Lacey apartment he shared with his girlfriend. In July 2014, Ralph’s girlfriend had agreed to babysit the girl and her two siblings. The couple also has two children and had watched the victim and her siblings before, according to court documents.

Ralph was arrested Aug. 15 and admitted to touching the girl on at least two occasions. He also admitted to touching his girlfriend’s daughter, stating that he rubs her breasts and groin area because she is entering a growth spurt and complains of pain in her stomach and chest area, according to documents.

Ralph was initially charged with three counts of first-degree child rape. At Monday’s court hearing, he pleaded guilty to only two counts as part of an Alford plea deal, in which a defendant admits evidence is sufficient to be found guilty at a trial.

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