Ex-prison officer pleads guilty to child molestation

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DAYTON, Wash. (AP) — A former Washington state corrections officer faces up to 16 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes against children.

The Union Bulletin reports that Benjamin G. Smith, of Dayton, pleaded guilty last week in Columbia County Superior Court to first-degree child molestation, third-degree child rape and other charges.

After he was arrested in January, Smith resigned from his job as a corrections officer at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. He had been in that post since 2008.

Smith was arrested on allegations that he had sex with a child between 14-15 years old as well as sexual contact with that same child and another between the ages of 12-13 for years. Both children are known to Smith.

He is currently being held in Franklin County Jail because of security concerns.

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