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A 22-year-old Longview man accused of having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl had his first appearance in Cowlitz County Superior Court Tuesday.

Brandon Lee Royal, who is charged with third-degree rape of a child, was released on his own recognizance by Judge Stephen Warning. Warning ordered Royal to refrain from contacting the girl.

In late February, the girl’s father found text messages on his daughter’s phone indicating she had sexual relations with an older man later found to be Royal, a family friend, according to court records.

During an interview, the girl told investigators she and Royal engaged in consensual sexual activity at his house last month. Royal told investigators “he knew their relationship was wrong and that he did not want (the girl) to tell anyone,” according to court records.

Royal’s arraignment is scheduled for March 20.

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Contact Daily News reporter Denver Pratt at 360-577-2541 or dpratt@tdn.com

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