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Richland Deacon appears in court, following two child molestation charges

Robert DeValle, 74, appeared in Benton County court Thursday on two counts of first-degree child molestation.

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – Police arrested a 74-year-old man for two counts of child molestation.

The former deacon at Christ the King parish in Richland made his court appearance Thursday, August 3.

Robert DeValle, 74, appeared in Benton County court on two counts of first-degree child molestation.

Two sisters came forward and said DeValle touched them inappropriately eight or nine years ago when they were young children, accusations DeValle admits to, according to court documents.

Devalle is a Deacon at Christ the King Parish in Richland.

The Diocese of Yakima put Devalle on administrative leave in light of these allegations.

We've learned DeValle began volunteering at Christ the King in 1978 and helped with ministry to middle school and high school students. He was also active in confirmation preparation until the late 1990s.

According to court documents, the church learned of the sexual abuse when the now 15-year-old victim told her youth group leader that DeValle touched her inappropriately when she was in second grade.

Court documents said DeValle kissed and licked the eight-year-old's breasts and put his hands under her underwear.

After the younger sister came forward, court papers said the older sister told her parents that DeValle also molested her by putting his hands up her shirt, playing with her breasts and kissing her on the neck.

Documents stated DeValle admitted to molesting both sisters and he also admitted to sexually assaulting another young girl when she was around 10 years old.

Action News reached out to the Diocese of Yakima for comment on the case.

In a statement Bishop Joseph Tyson said: "It is always a tragedy when a child is hurt. We are thankful the victims had the courage to come forward and we pray for the healing of all involved."

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