- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A Yakima man accused of having sex with underage girls after befriending them on a social media site pleaded guilty to four counts of third-degree child rape.

The Yakima Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1OmyKGH ) Austin Bates entered the plea on Friday in Yakima County Superior Court.

The 20-year-old Bates was arrested in May when a 15-year-old girl told police she met Bates on Facebook and that he had sex with her. During the investigation that followed, two other girls were identified by police and one came forward. They were 14 and 15 years old.

Police say Bates had “friended” hundreds of young-looking girls on Facebook.

Bates’ attorney Charles Dold told the judge his client entered the guilty plea because he wanted to take responsibility.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, https://www.yakimaherald.com

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