Latah County Sheriff's Office Moscow police arrested Andrew Appleton, an associate professor of political science at WSU, on Tuesday for the alleged rape of a teenage biological relative.
Moscow Police Chief David Duke said Appleton’s ex-wife and female relative, now 18, reported the incidents on Monday. Appleton, 51, was appointed guardianship of the girl when she came to Moscow from England to get away from an abusive situation with her older sister, according to police reports.
Appleton allegedly developed a “relationship” with the girl over the course of a two-year period, according to police reports. He left his wife because he “fell in love” with her.
Moscow Police officer Kyle Pisula and Appleton’s relative called Appleton at about 9 p.m. Monday and recorded the conversation. In the discussion, Appleton never denied having sex with the girl.
“All I can say is that, you and I developed a relationship and (Andrew mentions his ex-wife) wasn’t there,” he said. “She wasn’t there for me and she wasn’t there for you, um, I fell in love with you. I couldn’t get that out of my head, I couldn’t get that out of my heart.”
Appleton allegedly began touching the girl in a way that made her “uncomfortable” beginning in 2009, and first had sex with her in February 2010. She was 16 at the time.
Appleton and his ex-wife had marital problems over the course of the two-year period and travelled to several states as a result. Appleton allegedly had sex with the girl in Idaho, California and Texas during that time.
Appleton's female relative said the two had sex every time they were alone together, and Appleton often encouraged her to drink alcohol. He then woke her up the next morning by touching her.
At one point, Appleton’s then wife walked in on the two having sexual contact, according to the police reports. His wife never reported the incident, but she sought out counseling for the girl.
Appleton's relative divulged the details of her relationship to her friends, but Appleton told her if their sexual activity was reported, she would be placed into a foster home and would be unable to attend college, according to police reports.
She also reported that several naked photos were taken of her, both during Skype interactions and with his cell phone. The Moscow Police Department has searched Appleton’s home and confiscated his computer, hard drives, flash drives and a cell phone.
Duke said the department is also working with the WSU Police to obtain a warrant for Appleton’s office.
“She felt that she was coerced into this and it continued many times over the two-year period,” Duke said. “She felt it was the time to bring it forth.”
Duke said the girl has left the area.
WSU spokesman Darin Watkins said Appleton has been relieved of all his duties at the university in response to the arrest.
“As an institution, we have made some moves in this regard,” Watkins said. “WSU takes these cases very, very seriously.”
Appleton had a limited schedule this semester at the university, he said, and administrators were able to find other professors to temporarily step in to teach his classes.
Watkins is unsure about whether Appleton will return if he is cleared of the charges.
“We take these one step at a time,"Watkins said."This is an immediate and initial reaction in these cases. This is the very first stage and we felt it very appropriate to take the steps that we did.”
Appleton worked a one-year appointment at the university from 1989 to 1990 and then returned in 1994. He served as the director of graduate studies in the Department of Political Science from 2002 until his arrest.
Appleton was also the editor of the quarterly journal “French Politics.” His research specializations include comparative politics, political parties, political behavior and post-industrial societies.
Appleton's initial hearing will be at 1 p.m. on Oct. 3. His bond has been set at $100,000. According to the Latah County Sheriff's Office, Appleton is still in custody on felony rape charges.
Correction, 9/20/2012, 9:41: A previous version of this article indicated that Appleton's wife walked in on he and his teenage relative having sex. The police reports indicate that sexual contact was occuring on that incident when Appleton's wife walked in on them. The Evergreen regrets the error.
Update, 11/20/2012, 8:17 p.m.: Attribution added.