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Charges dropped against man accused of sexually assaulting beaver

KENNEWICK, Wash. - All charges have been dropped against a man accused of committing a sex act with a dying beaver in Columbia Park last September. 

Richard Delp, 35, was arrested on charges of felony animal cruelty and possession of methamphetamine after a woman said she saw him lying down with the animal with his pants undone. 

The woman said the beaver had been run over by a car but was still breathing, so she left to grab supplies to help the animal. When she returned, she found Delp with the animal and called 911. The beaver did not survive.

After his arrest, Delp admitted to committing a sex act with the animal. 

In court, Delp’s lawyer requested a mental health evaluation for his client, which was conducted by Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. 

On Thursday, Benton County Prosecutor Craig Swenson confirmed, based on the results of the evaluation, that Delp is incompetent to stand trial and is not likely to be restored to competency through treatment.

“Because of these facts the State is dismissing our charges without prejudice against Mr. Delp and authorizing Eastern State Hospital to evaluate him for civil commitment,” Swenson said. 

He will remain there until Eastern State Hospital determines that he does not suffer from a mental disorder and there is not a substantial likelihood he will commit a similar crime. 

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