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Powell pleads guilty to three felony sex crimes

Meredith Powell enters the court room earlier this year for charges of felony sexual crimes with students. She pled guilty on July 23 to three of four counts against her.  - Submitted photo
Meredith Powell enters the court room earlier this year for charges of felony sexual crimes with students. She pled guilty on July 23 to three of four counts against her.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Sequim Gazette staff

Meredith Powell, 25, a teacher with Sequim roots, pled guilty to three sex crimes charges on Wednesday, July 23, in Pierce County Superior Court.

Powell could face up to five years for two counts of child rape in the third degree and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Her attorney Wayne Fricke told media outlets Wednesday that, in a stipulated agreement with Prosecuting Attorney Sabrina Ahrens, Powell seeks six months in jail and three years of sexual offender rehabilitation.

Powell will be jailed until her sentencing on Aug. 29.

Previously she had been placed in custody of her mother in Sequim.

Fricke said Powell knew that what she did was wrong and was going through a difficult time in her personal life.

“Obviously, she made a lot of bad choices — regrettable choices,” Fricke said.

He said Powell has been evaluated by the treatment center and they find her very treatable.

Once released from jail, Powell will register as a sex offender.

Previously, Powell pled not guilty to the three charges in February before a fourth charge arose from a then-18-year-old student, which was dropped on Wednesday.

Powell is a 2007 Sequim High School graduate and University of Idaho graduate, and had been teaching math at Lincoln High School in Tacoma since Sept. 4, 2012.

Initial allegations emerged when the Tacoma School District reported Powell to Tacoma Police on Monday, Feb. 4, 2014, for an alleged inappropriate contact between her and a 17-year-old student.

Powell had written a letter to the boy’s girlfriend apologizing for “promiscuous” and “unprofessional” comments and texts sent to the boy.

She went on unpaid leave Feb. 7 before resigning shortly thereafter.

Powell told police that she gave the boy and two other students her cell number and that on either Jan. 24 or 25, while drunk at home, she exchanged texts with the 17-year-old.

He claimed one text included her home address and that he sensed Powell wanted to have sex with him.

According to court documents, Powell also admitted to kissing a then 15-year-old boy on Jan. 17 in her classroom after an assembly.

The boy told police that on the day of the assembly the two had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior.

Powell also admitted to kissing and inappropriate touching with him and they began sending inappropriate texts after New Year’s Eve.

Court documents state a second 15-year-old said he and Powell had been sending texts to each other, including her sending him a nude photo.

He said they kissed, touched inappropriately and she performed oral sex on him a few days following the assembly.

In a second interview with police, court documents show, Powell confirmed she had performed oral sex on the second 15-year-old boy in her classroom and had engaged in inappropriate touching and sent him nude photos.

Previously, Powell was a student teacher in Sequim High School in the winter of 2012 and a substitute teacher in spring 2012.

There were no complaints against her.

The dropped fourth charge for sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree came from a student, 18 at the time of the alleged offense, who was in Powell’s math class in Lincoln High School.

The student said that sometime between Jan 1, 2013, and April 12, 2013, he sought help to raise his math grade.

In one instance she allegedly touched him sexually and said, “This stays between us," according to court documents.

The first three students received counseling, Tacoma School District reported, and that crisis counseling was available on Feb. 7 for others in Lincoln High School.

Powell was a student teacher in Sequim High School in the winter of 2012 and a substitute teacher in spring 2012.

Sequim School District reports there were no complaints against her during her time as a teacher and that Powell received standard substitute teacher orientation.

Powell graduated from Sequim High School in 2007 and previously attended Olympic Peninsula Academy. She was active in sports, honor society and was named to the top 10 percent of her class in academics.

 

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