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Originally published December 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 25, 2007 at 4:17 PM

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Wapato teacher accused of raping girlfriend's 5th grade daughter

A schoolteacher has been accused of starting a sexual relationship with one of his fifth grade students, then dating and moving in with...

The Associated Press

YAKIMA — A schoolteacher has been accused of starting a sexual relationship with one of his fifth grade students, then dating and moving in with her mother while continuing to have sex with the child.

Jesus Vega Barcenas, 26, a teacher at Adams Elementary School in this lower Yakima Valley town, was charged Monday in Yakima County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree child rape and three counts of second-degree child rape. He remains in jail with bail set at $200,000. Trial was set for Feb. 11.

School officials said Barcenas used to teach fulltime but is now a substitute. An internal investigation is likely, Assistant Superintendent Daniel Murray said.

The girl, now 12, told investigators he "brainwashed" her into a sexual relationship that lasted more than a year until her mother learned what was going on and went to police last week, according to documents filed by prosecutors in court.

Barcenas was arrested Friday.

According to a Yakima police affidavit, the girl and teacher met and became friends in an after-school program when she was in third grade.

After she was assigned to his fifth-grade class in September 2006, she told authorities, he gave her $50 for her 11th birthday and they began kissing at school. Starting two weeks later, she said, they engaged in sex acts about half a dozen times in his classroom during the school year.

Following the end of the school year in June, prosecutors wrote, Barcenas began dating the girl's mother and by the end of the summer he had moved in with the family in Yakima, continuing to have sex periodically with the girl.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakima-herald.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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