Ellensburg, Wash. — The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office arrested a 43-year-old Cle Elum woman Sept. 8 on six counts of rape of a child in the third degree. Thorp School District confirmed to KIRO 7 the woman involved, Jennifer Richter, and the 14-year-old boy are a teacher and former student, respectively.
In a court appearance on Monday afternoon, Richter pled not guilty.
A deputy was originally called to investigate a disabled vehicle at 10:17 a.m. on Sept. 8 in the area of Game Bird Loop off of Game Farm Road, near Ellensburg. The deputy found Richter and the boy from Ellensburg, both claiming to have parked in the area to talk when they discovered the car broken down.
While the deputy was giving a courtesy ride home to the juvenile, the deputy became concerned with the boy's demeanor and some comments that were made, investigators said. The deputy asked for clarification and the boy disclosed he and Richter had engaged in a sexual relationship.
The deputy notified detectives, who started an investigation which led to the arrest of Richter for rape of a child.
According to court documents, Richter was the victim’s art teacher for the 2017-18 school year. The district later received notification from the sheriff's office regarding an investigation into allegations of potential educator misconduct involving a former student. It is cooperating with law enforcement and has placed Richter on leave pending the investigation. According to court documents, no sexual assault took place while Richter was the boy’s teacher.
According to investigators, the victim disclosed in an interview that a total of six incidents of sexual assault occurred between him and Richter between Aug. 15 and Sept. 8 of this year. The assaults took place at a variety of locations, the first of which was Richter’s home. The victim is friends with Richter’s two sons, 12 and 14, and had stayed overnight. The assault took place after the sons had been picked up by their father.
At the time of completion of the probable cause affidavit, medic units were called to Richter’s residence because she had harmed herself. She was transported to the hospital.
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