Tacoma teacher charged with having sex with students

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News and KING 5 News staff

KING5.com

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 6:40 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- A Tacoma math teacher has admitted to sending nude pictures of herself to three male students and performing sex acts with two of them in a classroom, according to newly released court documents.

Meredith Powell, a 24-year-old teacher at Lincoln High School, was charged with child rape and immoral communication with a minor and has been placed on unpaid leave. 

Despite the serious accusations, friends and students still don’t believe she did it, but charging documents suggest otherwise and give graphic details of the suspected abuse that went on for almost two weeks.

The alleged abuse started New Year’s Eve, when detectives say Powell exchanged phone numbers with three male students. Two are current students, one is a former student. According to court documents, weeks later Powell was drunk one night when one of the students sent her a text message, saying “she turned him on.” Powell responded, saying she thought he was hot.

The flirtation eventually escalated. After her arrest, Powell admitted to kissing, fondling and performing oral sex on one of the teens in her classroom, and kissing and fondling another one on campus after a school assembly.

A third student told police Powell sent naked Snapchat pictures of herself in a bathtub to him. Investigators say he sensed his teacher wanted to have sex with him, but it stopped there when the student’s girlfriend sensed “something fishy.”

An anonymous tip to the school district was passed onto Tacoma police; officers arrested Powell Thursday.

Hundreds of students are standing by Powell and don’t believe the charges. They’re showing support through a Free Powell Facebook page. Some even wore “Free Powell” t-shirts to class Friday.

With no previous criminal history, a judge ordered Powell free during her court appearance Friday, allowing her to live with her mom in Sequim.

For now, the school district will keep Powell on unpaid leave and will only consider firing her after the criminal case. If convicted on all charges, Powell faces up to five years in prison.

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