BREMERTON, WA -- Malachi Powell, a 21-year-old employee of the Kitsap Family YMCA, was charged in the rape of a 13-year-old club member last Friday.
Powell was formally charged with second-degree rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes on June 12. He met the girl when he was working as a YMCA receptionist and gave the victim and her family a tour of the facility, which they joined in May, according to investigators. The two then traded sexually explicit text messages that progressed into sexual encounters, local police said.
Bremerton police were called by the girl's parents when they discovered the text messages. Officers were called in to interview the girl, who provided them with information leading to Powell’s arrest.
Powell has not denied the sexual relationship and stated in court documents that he believed the girl was 17, though the girl told investigators she hadn’t lied about her age.
A Bremerton YMCA official told local media that Powell has been suspended from employment until the investigations are finalized.
Though police say none of the sexual encounters took place at the YMCA, the club said it is taking extra precautions to prevent future incidents.
"We screen these employees extremely well," Patrick Boyle, Bremerton YMCA board chairman, told local media. "We train them all of the time, and it's really disappointing when you find out something like this, but we still don't know it's a fact."
Powell is being held at the Kitsap County Jail on $25,000 bail.