SPOKANE, Wash. -- A jury Tuesday found level-three child molester Richard Payne guilty of molesting a young girl at NorthTown Mall in Spokane. He was convicted on two counts of child molestation and one count of indecent exposure. He will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Authorities said Payne, 55, approached a five-year-old girl on June 21, 2012 in the former arcade area of the mall. He approached her and her eleven-year-old sister and fondled the five-year-olds backside, according to law enforcement. Court documents stated that the eleven year old witnessed him exposing his genitals a few minutes later to the five-year-old and began rubbing her backside and upper thighs. Police said the girls ran away and told their mom.
On the stand Monday, Payne denied touching anyone at the arcade. He said he went to the NorthTown Mall arcade to kill time.
Detectives seized security video from the mall and confirmed the girl’s allegations. Authorities recognized Payne from the video and arrested him.
Payne appeared emotionless as the verdict was read out Tuesday.
Payne told the court room he was not surprised by the verdict. His attorney said the guilty verdict was expected. They added that Payne was so convinced he would be convicted today that he already said goodbye to his long-term girlfriend.
Prosecutors said they believe Payne would have had more victims in the future if he had been acquitted.
“I think it's going to keep our community safe. I have no idea how many victims in the future there would have been,” said Patrick Johnson, Prosecutor.
Payne will be officially sentenced within 40 days. His attorney’s said they already are thinking ahead to appealing his conviction.