May 11, 2010 in City

Stevens County school worker sentenced for abuse

Board could extend term from 14-plus years to life
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The longtime psychologist for the Colville School District was ordered Monday to serve at least 14 1/2 years in prison for molesting one of his students and attempting to molest another.

Superior Court Judge Al Nielson sentenced 59-year-old Craig L. Figley to 174 months in prison. However, his case will go before a state board that reviews the sentences of sex offenders, and that board could decide to keep Figley in prison for life, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.

In addition to first-degree child molestation charges, Figley had pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. Images of young boys were found on his school computer, and his home computer contained images of young boys engaged in sex.

According to court records, Figley’s sexual history began as a Cub Scout when four boys, including his older brother, fondled each other. Since that time, Figley has yearned for young boys.

When Figley was 26, in 1978, he molested a 12-year-old boy in a tent in the boy’s mother’s backyard, according to interviews he gave as part of his sex offender evaluation used for his sentencing.

“He has had sexual contact with several boys who were friends of his son and stayed overnight in his home,” wrote Clark Ashworth, a clinical psychologist who conducted the sex offender evaluation. The mother of one of the victims was a teacher Figley knew, Ashworth said.

One of his son’s friends continued a relationship with Figley until the boy turned 20, according to the report.

“The court was made aware of at least six prior victims,” Rasmussen said, referring to the report. “As of yet, none have come forward. This is a pattern of abuse that goes back at least 25 years. If other victims come forward … we will evaluate them to see if prosecution is warranted.”

Prior to his arrest, Figley was part of an interdisciplinary team that is operated by a local child advocacy center. In that role, Figley was the school district’s representative on a team that included the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement and social services representatives who met to discuss child sex abuse cases, Rasmussen said.

It doesn’t appear that the two victims, both of whom were 11, came in contact with Figley as a result of his work on the interdisciplinary team, Rasmussen said.

“The two victims … were involved with him, not only in school but out of school. He was their personal friend,” he said.

One of the victim’s parents spoke at the sentencing, and victim advocates read statements from both boys. Figley had six people speak on his behalf, including his ex-wife.

Figley told the court that he was sorry and that he was glad that the parents of the victims wrote him letters describing how they feel about the crime so it can help him understand what he did was wrong, Rasmussen said.


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