Prosecutor: West Richland man charged with raping girl, mother participated

Prosecutor: West Richland man charged with raping girl, mother participated

A West Richland man sexually abused a 13-year-old girl for months, and her mother allowed it to happen, according to the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Thomas St. George, 34, was arrested on Oct. 19 after the teen told investigators he’d been abusing her since November 2017.

The alleged crimes happened while the girl and her mother, 35-year-old Kristin Yakel, were living with St. George in the 300 block of North 69th Avenue. Authorities described Yakel as St. George’s roommate.

Yakel told police she witnessed some of the abuse and “went along with it.” The alleged victim described one instance in which her mother actually participated in the abuse, court documents say.

St. George was arraigned Thursday on charges of second-degree rape of a child and first-degree molestation.His trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 10.

Yakel was charged Thursday and will be arraigned Friday on charges of second-degree rape of a child and sexual exploitation of a minor.

For years, St. George was known for surviving a house fire in West Richland that claimed the life of his wife Sandy in 2011.

Shortly after the fire, the Tri-City Herald reported that he was under investigation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with their teenage babysitter. He was not convicted.

His three children were not home when the fire took place.

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