Child Rape Trial Begins

<p>Jonathan Kuhlman</p>

Jonathan Kuhlman

Testimony begins in the child rape trial of a 43-year-old Prosser man.

Jonathan Kuhlman is accused of befriending two underage Kiona-Benton High School students on separate occasions last year and speaking to one with immoral intent and sexually assaulting the other.

Kuhlman is charged with communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, third-degree child rape, third-degree attempted rape of a child and distribution of marijuana to a person under 18.

In opening statements, the prosecution said Kuhlman approached one 15-year-old girl walking home from school and exchanged numbers with her.

The prosecution said he then picked her up from school on a different day, took her to a secluded area and tried to have sex with her.

The victim was allegedly using her friend's phone when communicating with Kuhlman.

That friend took the stand today and said when the victim was picked up from school, the witness looked back at texts that were inappropriate and immediately texted Kuhlman demanding he bring the victim back.

Kuhlman then allegedly dropped her off and gave her marijuana.

The prosecution said a few months prior, Kuhlman sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in his car and told her not to tell anyone. 

"They smoked marijuana, she wanted to leave, he said, 'No,'" said Benton County Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra. "He pulled down his pants and he grabbed her face and he forced her down to his groin area. She began to scream, she did not want to do this, she will tell you this."

Petra said the girl then pushed the car door open and ran away.

The defense has reserved its opening statement until after the prosecution rests its case.

Kuhlman is out on bail.