BELTON — A former employee at a local drug and behavioral rehabilitation hospital pleaded guilty to molesting a 16-year-old patient.

Yzaguirre Washington, 40, of Temple was indicted June 17 on a charge of sexual assault and made his plea on Thursday.

According to an arrest affidavit, police learned of Washington’s sexual relationship with the female patient after she told police she and Washington engaged in sexual intercourse in January.

Gregory K. Simmons, Washington’s defense attorney, asked Judge John Gauntt’s 27th District Court for probation in the case, saying the young victim was some 30 days from her 17th birthday, the age of consent in Texas.

“You breached the trust that was given to you,” Gauntt said during the sentencing. “Even if it had happened another 36 days later, you still would have breached that trust.”

Simmons said Washington had challenges. Washington was raped as a child by close family members, but overcame this abuse to become a decorated war veteran who exited the Marine Corps with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Simmons said.

“He was put in a position of trust and he broke that trust,” Simmons said. “He realizes that.”

But Leslie McWilliams, a Bell County prosecutor, said Washington didn’t deserve deferred probation for the offense and asked Gauntt’s court to sentence Washington to five to six years in prison.

“Even (the victim) knew what they were doing was wrong,” McWilliams said. “But she was taken advantage of ... by a mental health associate at Cedar Crest Hospital.”

A spokesman at the hospital did not return calls for comment.

McWilliams was sure to point out prosecutors could not get in contact with the victim to hear her opinions on Washington’s punishment.

“That’s what particularly sad about this case,” McWilliams said.

Gauntt sentenced Washington to 10 years of deferred adjudication probation. Washington also must pay a $1,500 fine. In addition, Washington must register as a sex offender for life.