WSU professor accused of raping teenage girl

MOSCOW, Idaho -- A Washington State University professor has been arrested for felony rape of a teenage girl.

Andrew Appleton, 51, was arrested by Moscow police Tuesday after the alleged victim came forward.

An associate professor of politics at Washington State University, Appleton has been a faculty member there since 1994. University spokesman Darin Watkins said Appleton has been removed from his duties and is "no longer on campus."

The woman, who is a relative of Appleton's, told police he intimidated and coerced her into a sexual relationship, starting when she was 16 years old. According to court documents, the relationship lasted from February 2010 through September 2011.

She came forward after she turned 18 and said that she had moved from her home to escape an abusive relative and had moved in with Appleton and his wife. Appleton's wife moved to California with the alleged victim in 2009 for a job and Appleton would visit them often until they moved back to Moscow in 2010.

It was during the period when they were living in California that, the woman claims, Appleton started touching her inappropriately. In February 2010 they started having sexual intercourse. Whenever his wife wasn't around and Appleton and the teen were alone they continued the sexual relationship, according to court documents.

The teen also told two close friends about the situation, but swore them to secrecy out of fear she might not be able to go to college if they did. The alleged victim said Appleton told her she would be put into the foster care system if she were taken from his home, according to the documents.

The sexual relationship continued for so long that the woman told investigators that it had become a "way of life." The documents said he would allow her to date other boys as a cover to their actions, and they continued to keep the relationship secret from everyone, including Appleton's wife.

Eventually the teen decided to tell her aunt about the relationship and she in turn reported it to the police. Appleton and his wife were going through a divorce when the teen graduated from high school earlier this year and moved with her aunt back to California.

During an interview with Moscow Police earlier this week she called Appleton and in that conversation, which was recorded by investigators, Appleton allegedly admitted to the relationship, claimed he had fell in love with the teen, saying his wife hadn't been there for him but she had.

The teen arranged to have Appleton meet her at East City Park in Moscow Tuesday and when he arrived, instead of meeting the teen, Moscow police officers arrested him for investigation of rape.

A British national, Appleton earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, his masters degree from the London School of Economics and his Ph.D from New York University in 1992.

He is also the co-author, along with a fellow WSU professor, of the French Fifth Republic At Fifty, an analysis of French politics, society and culture.


KXLY is a news partner of KOMO News.