Olympia man gets 10 years for child molestation

An Olympia man was sentenced to 10 years in prison over multiple counts of child molestation.

Brandon Hughes-Ranahan, 36, appeared Monday in Thurston County Superior Court where he received the maximum sentence. He pleaded guilty last month to five counts of second-degree child molestation and one count of second-degree child assault/domestic violence.

However, federal charges are still pending. Hughes-Ranahan had been arrested in 2014 after sexually explicit photos of young girls were found on his barracks computer while his Army National Guard unit was training in Yakima. The former sergeant has since been discharged from the National Guard, in which he served 17 years.

During the investigation, Hughes-Ranahan told the FBI that he had molested two girls who were both younger than 13. He also took photos of them on multiple occasions, according to court documents.

Thurston County prosecutors expect that Hughes-Ranahan will end up serving 15 years if convicted in federal court.

At Monday’s hearing, a woman identified as a family friend delivered statements on behalf of the victims’ mothers. The statements described Hughes-Ranahan as a “monster” and a “heartless predator” who took advantage of vulnerable women to gain access to their children. One mother said she was consumed with guilt and felt like she had failed her children, according to the statement.

Hughes-Ranahan told the court that he wants to help his victims heal from the wounds he caused.

“I know I can never repair or fix what I did to them,” Hughes-Ranahan said Monday. “I want to be able to get the help I need so I can rejoin society one day.”

Although the maximum sentence allowed is 116 months, attorneys agreed to an exceptional sentence of 120 months. Judge James Dixon approved the 120-month sentence and reminded Hughes-Ranahan of the victims’ statements.

“It is the hope of this court that those words mean something to you,” Dixon told Hughes-Ranahan. “It’s unfortunate, but very realistic, that the victims of your crimes will lose their freedoms as well.”

Dixon also noted that when Hughes-Ranahan is released, “It’s a pretty safe assumption the victims and their families don’t want your help.”

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869