Regional News

State corrections officer accused of child rape

DAYTON, Wash. (AP) - A Washington state corrections officer is accused of child rape and child molestation in Columbia County.

The Union Bulletin reports  that 33-year-old Benjamin G. Smith, of Dayton, was arrested at his home Monday.

Smith was charged in Columbia County Superior Court with third-degree rape of a child, as well as second- and third-degree child molestation.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Slack says additional charges might be filed after officers complete their investigation.

A corrections spokeswoman, Shari Hall, says Smith has been an officer at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla since 2008.

A message left with a lawyer appointed to defend Smith, Rachel Cortez, was not immediately returned. Cortez's office said it was too soon for her to comment.

Smith is being held on $100,000 bail at the Franklin County Jail.

His arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 1.


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