Kennewick felon faces maximum sentence for raping young girls & fleeing the country

Kennewick man accused of raping girls caught in Panama
Clay Haynes is accused of raping and molesting two girls for 5 or 6 years in Benton County.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Benton County jury convicted a former Tri-Cities resident on charges associated with the sexual abuse and rape of several young girls from the area.

According to an alert from the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, Clay Haynes was found guilty on four sexual assault charges including two counts of a Rape of a Child in the Second Degree.

Due to the aggravating circumstances of his case, Haynes faces the maximum penalty for all four charges. In a statement on social media, the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office offered the following insight:

The dynamics of child sexual abuse, can cause a delay in reporting the crime. That is not the fault of the victim, it is the fault of the offender for committing such a serious crime against a young, vulnerable victim. But the delay in reporting does make the proving the case more challenging.

DEC. 2017: Kennewick man accused of raping girls caught in Panama

In December 2017, KAPP KVEW reported that Hayes was captured in Panama on November 16, 2017, after nationwide extradition sought to bring him to justice for child rape and molestation charges.

His home was searched and authorities found 13 firearms, which he couldn’t legally possess due to a felony drug conviction in 2006. After his capture overseas, he was escorted to Miami, FL, and was later transported back to Benton County in March 2018.

MARCH 2018: Man charged with child rape, incest returned to Benton County after fleeing country

The two targets knew Hayes from a young age and were victims of sexual abuse over a five-year period. He forced them to perform sexual acts, which were detailed in KAPP KVEW’s report from March 2018.

Hayes represented himself in court, making the process more complicated for Benton County prosecutors. Ultimately, Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra brought Hayes to justice—the next instance in a lengthy history of her successful convictions against child abusers in WA state.

RECENT HEADLINES FROM THE KAPP KVEW NEWS STAFF:

READ: Sunnyside man takes plea deal & escapes murder charge after key witness dies