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Former Tacoma teacher pleads guilty to sex acts with underage students

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Meredith Powell, a former teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, pleaded guilty to sex acts with students Wednesday. This photo is from an earlier court appearance. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

TACOMA — A 25-year-old former Lincoln High School teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday to having engaged in sex acts with two students and texting nude photos to a third student.

Meredith Powell, a former math teacher, pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 29.

She faces a standard sentencing range of three years, 10 months to five years in prison on the charges, but her attorney told The News Tribune of Tacoma that lawyers would recommend she be sentenced to six months in jail and three years of sex offender treatment.

Powell was arrested in February, shortly after the Tacoma School District got an anonymous tip that she was engaging in sexual contact with several students. She resigned shortly after her arrest.

On Wednesday, she admitted she had engaged in sex acts with two boys between the ages of 14 and 16 who were students at Lincoln High School.

According to court documents, the mother of an 18-year-old student at the high school told police her son confessed to having sexual contact with Powell in the 2012-2013 school year as the initial allegations against Powell came to light.

The male student told his mother he went to Powell’s classroom when he was a 17-year-old junior in the 2012-13 school year for some “extra help with math” after class, court documents show.

Powell allegedly gave the student extra math problems and sat at the corner of his desk while he worked on the problems. Toward the end of the session, the student told Powell he would do anything to help get his grade up in math, as he was struggling in Powell’s class.

Powell allegedly asked, “You’ll do anything?” And then reached over and unzipped the student’s pants. Powell grabbed the student’s groin and engaged in a sexual act, documents said.

After the incident, Powell allegedly told the student, “This stays between us.”

The student’s mother told police she noticed behavioral changes in her son following the incident, and the son even requested to change schools during his junior year.


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  • Guest

    Hmm that sounds a little fishy to me. It sounds like a cheesy porn. If this is true, I can't imagine any 17 year old being upset by this. Maybe younger than 16 sure but a 17 year old male? I don't think so.

    • Tho

      Sounds to me like “mommy” had suspicions do to sons new behavior, and deployed a few choice and well placed, MOMMY questions. That hit the ears with the softness of a summers breeze, but with all the force and effects of mom walking in on you while you are sniffing a pair of panties while vigorously exercising “Ms.Thumb and her four sisters” and your pants around your ankles.

    • Steven

      Yea who knows if he is telling the truth

      In fact we should accuse all victims of sexual assault of lying and they should all face a lie detector test

      After all, no one would believe if a girl was sexually assaulted by a male teacher, right ?

      • peacenaut

        It does seem like a sexual bias, that girls can be molested at that age but not boys. Don’t you agree that there is a slight difference between a (male) teacher having sex with a young girl and a (female) teacher seducing a boy? In one case the older person is penetrating (if they actually have intercourse) and in the other case, the offender is being penetrated. It takes a different mind set to participate in older male/girl sex for the student than it does for the male student engaging in sexual activity with a female who wants it, particularly if she’s just a handful of years older than you are as the male student. Now if it was a male teacher having sex with male students it would be a different situation. It is also true that they would lynch a lesbian teacher who seduced a teenage girl, though probably no where near as badly as they would a male who had sex with a male teenager.

        Are you complaining about the verdict from your standpoint as a former male teacher convicted of having sex with a minor or are you right wing and just whining about how men get the short stick all the time?

  • Guest

    The age of consent in Washington State is 16 years old.

    So have the laws been changed?

    This story looks like it is a lazy kid trying to use an easy way out of being a slacker student.

    • Steven

      Reverse the genders and ask me if you still don’t see a problem.

      A girl goes I for tutoring and asks if there’s anything she can do to bring her grade up and the male teacher gropes her.

      Sounds legit, right ?

      • Stacey

        Steven- No one is looking for an argument. Simply stating their opinion is their right. Have a conversation with a friend and stop picking at people. Not everyone is going to agree with you. There are two sides to this story. The point is no one knows. Not even you. Please try to have respect and allow others to leave their opinion’s.

  • Hannah

    I cannot believe the comments above. Blaming the victim is WRONG. What she did is wrong, period. She had no right and the victim's lives are forever negatively impacted due to her abhorrent actions.

    • Guest

      Yea she had no right to do that but she didn’t put a gun on the students nor she was forcing them to do any sexual behaviors with her it was the students choose! I’m pretty sure they are old enough to see what their doing is wrong but instead they went and did what they did anyway!!!

      • Steven

        He is a child and he was sexually assaulted.
        When people are attacked on the street at night do you blame them for being outside at night and let their attackers go free ?

        No one asks to be sexually assaulted

  • kellen

    She must have been really bad… because any 17 year old wouldnt be disturbed after. Back in high school I remember guys used to fantasize hooking up with the hot teachers. Remember the song “Hot for teacher” well its true.

    • Steven

      You are exactly what’s wrong with society.

      He’s 17 a minor and he was sexually assaulted, would you be so cavalier if a male teacher had violated a female student.

      The double standards you have are opinion and the law needs to be equally represented, not swayed by public bias.

    • Juwan

      Hopefully the court wont be as sexist as they are in Ohio. Dont seem to be able to put links here but their is a blogger post titled Female Sex Offenders and Their Defense. The double standard practiced by Ohio is disgraceful.

  • Mike

    Her only problem is the kid was a gay. There is no way a straight 17 yo male would complain about this. Besides its only creepy when men try to get at young girls, if a woman does it no problem.

    • Steven

      Yea everyone knows it’s only rape when the woman is the victim

      It’s only murder when women are the victims

      It’s only theft when women are the victims

      Sounds good to me

  • Jess

    What is wrong with this kid? I was having sex when I was 14 and this would have been a dream come true. He must have been either gay like someone else said or he found out that she was banging other students and got upset by that. He was probably in love and she hurt him, so this is his revenge. Either way, when he gets older, he will regret not milking this as long as possible. Also, the only ones who say this kid is a victim is women.

  • jeff

    This student is really scared for life, yeah! If this was a male teacher, the justice system would be totally throwing the book at him.

  • Lindsey

    I am utterly disgusted reading comments on the news update on the female teacher that is being arrested for having sexual relations with a student. “Where was she when I was in school” “I’d hit that” “stupid kid snitching”…..I commented on that news post, stating that being a parent it was horrid to me that so many adults make such a joke out of the situation and was told by a man to “get over it, eventually your daughter will do it too”….excuse me sir I am not only a mother but I am also a teacher and have worked with children ages ranging from infancy to teenagers, and that is a career I’ve had almost all of my working life. the fact that this woman is close to the same age as i am, in the same career working with youth and who is supposed to be a role model giving children (high school student or not, is still a CHILD) a safe place, Is disgusting. I don’t care if they are of consenting age, as an educator it is not right to envision a student as a sexual object, be it a male or female teacher. It is common sense, that a child in your class is a CHILD. Her and any of the other teachers in that situation lack all sense of morality and ethics. The kids in her case were not of consenting age and still considered minors, and even if they were of consenting age, they were still students in her care. I have a two year old daughter dan Mendez, (man who stated I needed to get over it and my opinion didn’t matter) no I would NOT like it if that were to happen with an adult that is supposed to be trusted with my child’s safety and education and NO I WILL NOT GET OVER IT…IT IS MY JOB AS AN EDUCATOR TO KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE. School is not a place for a teacher to have any sexual activity with students, it’s a place that is supposed to be for kids to be safe from predators, learn social skills and earn a strong education. For that to happen in any matter or situation is an outrage. my child will be raised to know that those situations are not appropriate and she will have higher self worth and self esteem and know that she is valuable as a person and school is a place for her to learn and excel….I am so grateful for some of the educators I had in my life, for being strong powerful role models and what I strived to be as a teacher. THANK YOU, with all of my heart. Due to peoples ignorance and close minded comments, at this point I am utterly disappointed in humans.

    • Munnyshot (AKA FireCrautch)

      Lindsey is really just jealous because she could not get any. Does it burn Lindsey? Is there too much sand down there? Yes its wrong, but nobody cares about your PMS comments.

    • GetrealFemBot

      First of all your assertion of minor is all BS – yes it’s law, but BS. Why? Quite simply THIS society believes it’s OK to join the military at 17 and definitely at 18 you are an adult. The law is also quite happily willing to try a teen as an adult for certain crimes as well – so you can’t have it both ways and say “oh their a minor” over here, then say “oh no, they are adult enough – they KNEW what they were doing” over there” and charge them as adults.

      This BS about being an educator, position of trust is absurd if you are legally able to JOIN the military at 17(with parents permission – since that is what I did), then you should be able to bone whomever you want. Also there shouldn’t be any distinction in the laws – so either raise the age of consensual sex or outlaw ALL sex till 18.

  • Devin H.

    Oh yes, because that seems very fair. I sense a bit of sexism in the sentencing. Only 3 years and 10 months to 5 years? You know how many years a man would get, probably life in prison. Way to go judicial system, for making it more evident of how bias/sexist you really are. What happened to equality?

  • Tyler

    God ive dreamed about that situation only a few dozen times. Change schools? How about volunteer or sign up to be her Teachers Aid or something. Don’t be scared, its only Pu$$y

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