Former Tacoma teacher, a Sequim native, sentenced in sex case

Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA — Sequim native Meredith Powell was sentenced on Friday to six months in the Pierce County Jail for having sex with two of her students and sending naked photos to a third while she was a teacher at Tacoma's Lincoln High School.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson suspended all but six months of a five-year sentence and ordered Powell, 25, into a three-year sex offender program, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said in a written statement released Friday.

She was sentenced on two counts of rape of a child in the third degree and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Powell cried upon hearing the sentence, The News Tribune of Tacoma said.

“I feel like words can't even express how sorry I am,” Powell said, according to the newspaper.

“I wish I could take back what happened to the students that I failed.”

She said she has been attending weekly counseling and is facing problems that fueled her behavior, including being molested in her youth, the newspaper said.

The five-year sentence is the high-end of the standard sentencing range, the prosecuting attorney's office said.

The suspension of 54 months of her sentence is contingent upon her compliance with court-ordered sex offender treatment, registering as a sex offender and having no contact with the victims.

She can have no contact with children without adult supervision, with the exception of her younger sister, The News Tribune said.

Powell, who was hired by the Tacoma School District in September 2012, pled guilty to the charges, both Class C felonies, on July 23.

She resigned from the Lincoln High School teaching staff after her arrest in February and surrendered her teaching certificate.

Police had received an anonymous tip that she engaged in sexual contact, ranging from oral sex to sending naked bathtub photos, with three students between the ages of 14 and 16 years old in January.

Powell grew up in Sequim, graduating from Sequim High School in 2007, and attended Olympic Peninsula Academy for a time.

She worked as a substitute teacher at Sequim High in the spring of 2012. District officials said there were no records of complaints against Powell while she taught in Sequim.

Shannon McMinimee, attorney for Tacoma Public Schools, told The News Tribune that district officials were disappointed by the length of time that Powell will spend in jail.

“Ms. Powell repeatedly talked about letting her students down,” McMinimee said after the hearing. “The reality is she committed child rape.”

Defense attorney Wayne Fricke told the newspaper that Powell has not yet decided what to do with her life after she serves her sentence but that she is banned from teaching.

Last modified: August 29. 2014 9:44PM
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