Fourth sexual misconduct charge leveled at ex-Sequim woman in Tacoma case

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA –– A fourth charge of criminal sexual misconduct has been filed against Meredith Powell, a Sequim native accused of having sexual relationships and conversations with her high school students in Tacoma.

According to Pierce County prosecutors, an 18-year-old former student of Powell's told police that Powell unzipped his pants and touched him while they were in her Lincoln High School classroom when he was a junior in 2013.

The 24-year-old math teacher now faces a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree in addition to the two counts of third-degree rape of a child and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes to which she pleaded not guilty Feb. 7.

Powell, who graduated from Sequim High School in 2007 and worked as a substitute teacher at Sequim High in the spring of 2012, is scheduled for an arraignment on the new charge in Pierce County Superior Court on Tuesday.

The Sequim School District has no record of complaints against Powell while she worked here.

Powell was hired by the Tacoma School District in September 2012.

According to documents filed in Pierce County court, the boy, then 17, was doing after-school math work to bring up his grade.

While sitting on the corner of her desk, he told Powell he would do anything to bring his math grade up.

“You'll do anything?” Powell asked, according to the documents.

She then unzipped his pants and touched his penis before allegedly telling him, “This stays between us.”

The boy's mother asked her son about his relationship with Powell after seeing media coverage of her February arrest, the documents said.

He told his mother what happened, and she contacted police.

Trial may be delayed

With the filing of the additional charge, the court canceled hearings that had been set for last Thursday on the original three charges.

The court also will hear a motion Tuesday to continue Powell's trial, which was set to begin April 24.

Powell was arrested in February when Tacoma School District officials contacted police after receiving an anonymous tip that she had engaged in sexual contact with three students between the ages of 14 and 16 years old.

Following her arrest, Powell was placed on unpaid leave after her arrest and was ordered by a Pierce County judge to stay with her mother in Sequim.

The News Tribune in Tacoma reported Friday that Powell had resigned from the district and surrendered her state teaching certificate.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 05. 2014 11:52PM
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