by: Kevin McCarty Updated:TACOMA, Wash. —
Probable cause documents say a 24-year-old high school teacher confessed to texting nude photos and having sexual contact with students in her Lincoln High School classroom.
According to the documents, math teacher Meredith Powell told detectives she had performed oral sex on a 15-year-old student in her Tacoma classroom last month and sent him nude photos of herself taking a bath using the application Snapchat.
Documents said she also admitted to exchanging inappropriate texts with and having sexual contact with a second student, 16, during a Jan. 17 assembly in which they stayed behind and met in her classroom.
A third student, age 17, who was in her class during a prior year said he and Powell exchanged sexual text messages but did not have sexual contact.
According to probable cause documents, on Feb. 4, the Tacoma School District contacted police and told them there had possibly been inappropriate contact between Powell and a student. Police learned Powell had written a letter to a boy’s girlfriend apologizing for "promiscuous" and "unprofessional" comments and texts she had sent, the documents said.
WARNING, GRAPHIC SEXUAL CONTENT: Probable Cause documents in teacher sex case
Detectives then interviewed three boys. Two of them detailed sexual contact with Powell in a classroom and a third said they had exchanged texts, authorities said.
Powell is charged with two counts of third-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes via electronic communication.
She was arrested Thursday afternoon and pleaded not guilty in Pierce County court to all charges Friday.
Police said she knew her actions were wrong. Detectives asked what she would say to the students' parents and she told them she would apologize.
Powell's mother doesn't appear to believe it. While waiting for her daughter at the jail, she said, "Innocent until proven guilty."
Powell’s attorney, Wayne Fricke, would say little after her court appearance except that she is overwhelmed by the allegations and being held in jail. “I think she’s frightened," Fricke told reporters. “As you can see she looks very young, and she’s frightened and confused.”
She was freed without bail and was released on Friday night.
Powell is on unpaid leave from her job at Lincoln High School.
On Friday Tacoma police confirmed they are concerned there are additional victims and are still actively working to find them. “(Anyone who received) inappropriate texts, inappropriate contact in the classroom or anywhere on school grounds, we would like to know about it”, said police spokeswoman Officer Loretta Cool.
More than 340 people have liked a Facebook page called Free Powell.
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