Man accused in Elma child sex sting worked close to kids


ELMA, Washington - How did a sex offender convicted of child rape wind up working a job that put him in close contact with kids??

That’s what an Elma mother wants to know after she said she discovered inappropriate Facebook messages sent by the man to her 10-year-old son.

Joel Alexander, 35, is accused of trying to set up a meeting to have sex with the boy at a public restroom in an Elma park, police said.

Alexander has worked on a pit crew with the American Sprint Car Series Northwest, and detectives said they believe he may have used his position in the racing world to find and groom his victims.

“They threw this monster out there with children everywhere, readily accessible,” said the woman, who asked us to withhold her identity.

She said kids run into the pits after races.

“At the end of the race, kids flock to the pits to get the autographs of these race cars,” she said.

Alexander has been a registered Level 2 sex offender since 2001.

“I can’t believe they would have somebody like that on their pit crew,” the mother said.

KIRO 7 South Sound Bureau Chief Richard Thompson emailed and called race organizers throughout the day Tuesday to see if they do background checks on people who work for race crews, but he didn’t receive an answer to that question.

The Washington State Patrol showed KIRO 7 that Alexander is listed as a crewmember of the American Sprint Car Series on the group’s website.

Detectives said they place blame in the case on Alexander – not on the race community.

“There’s no indication that this is widespread throughout the race circuit,” State Patrol Lt. Ron Mead said. “It appears at this point in time to be one bad apple that’s associated with this circuit.”