Dixie man pleads guilty in sex abuse on bus

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WALLA WALLA — A Dixie man pleaded guilty this morning to causing a developmentally disabled young woman to have sexual contact with him two days in January while riding a Columbia County Public Transportation bus.

Colton J. Langworthy, 20, of 101 Gilliam St., entered guilty pleas in Superior Court to two counts of indecent liberties.

In addition, Langworthy pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct related to child pornography police found on his computer.

He faces a standard-range prison term of five years and seven months to seven years and five months when he’s sentenced later by Judge Donald W. Schacht.

But in a plea agreement, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden is recommending a sentencing alternative if a psychological evaluation determines Langworthy is amenable to sex-offender treatment.

Under the alternative, Langworthy would serve up to a year in the County Jail and be required to successfully undergo outpatient treatment.

If Langworthy is found not to be amenable, Golden is recommending the low end of the standard range.

Schacht won’t be bound by any recommendation when he imposes sentence after Langworthy’s evaluation and a separate presentence investigation are completed.

Langworthy had been charged with six counts of indecent liberties, and four counts of first-degree and six counts of second-degree possession of child pornography.

Golden said in an interview he agreed to reduce the case because by pleading guilty to the three charges, Langworthy nearly reaches the maximum standard range he can receive under the law.

Also, this avoids a trial at which the victim — who functions at about a 7-year-old level — would have to testify, Golden said. He added that her family agreed it was an acceptable outcome.

Langworthy was arrested Jan. 31 for molesting the woman on the bus six days during the month.

She had told a sheriff’s deputy that a male passenger named Colton touched her inappropriately, according to a Sheriff’s Office report filed in court. The crimes were confirmed by recorded surveillance footage from the bus, the report says.

During the course of the investigation, officials obtained warrants to search Langworthy’s computer.

More than 10 images of child pornography were located on the laptop, as well as evidence that Internet websites containing such images had been viewed, according to a supplemental Sheriff’s Office report.

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