SPOKANE -- A Spokane County jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday afternoon against a former teacher's aide accused of child rape.
Titus Epefanio first met the victim when she was 14-years-old and he was working at Salk Middle School in North Spokane. Defense attorneys insisted their relationship was innocent until the girl turned 16.
Epefanio fathered a child with the girl when she was 17. They lived together for a short time until their relationship soured, Epefanio told jurors Monday.
In addition to child rape charges, Epefanio was also accused of sexual misconduct. However, that charge was dismissed by the judge because Epefanio was no longer employed by Spokane Public Schools when he and the girl first had sex.
Last November, Spokane Public Schools settled a claim for damages filed by the girl's family.
At one time, the girl's attorneys even accused administrators of encouraging the relationship. Documents state a former assistant principal at Shadle Park High School "ordered [the victim] out of class... so that Mr. Epefanio could meet [her] on school property."
The family originally asked for $2 million in damages. A settlement amount was never released because of a confidentiality agreement.