Sheriff's deputy charged with rape

A Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy is expected to go to court for allegedly having a sexual relationship with his former 14-year-old babysitter.

Kitsap County prosecutors charged Deputy Michael L. Kleinfelder with third-degree rape of a child in Kitsap County Superior Court Monday afternoon.

Kleinfelder’s first court date is scheduled for Monday, April 21, at which time he is expected to enter a plea, and the judge is expected to order a trial date.

The 33-year-old Kleinfelder is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl during off-duty hours at his Port Orchard home, from August 2001 to September 2002, according to court papers.

Kleinfelder was placed on paid administrative leave Feb. 13, just days after a criminal investigation was launched.

Now that criminal charges have been filed against the four-year veteran, Sheriff’s officials say an internal investigation has been launched — one they vow will be expedited as much as possible.

Top brass in the Sheriff’s office were unnerved by the news that one of their deputies was charged with such a crime.

“I am saddened by the allegations as contained in the complaint and the facts as known to me so far,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer in a prepared statement. “Deputy Kleinfelder has performed admirably as a field operations deputy… however, individuals make choices and they must be held responsible for their actions.”

Kleinfelder is a field deputy, and has performed tasks as a field training officer and as a member of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

Before Kleinfelder was hired (as is the case with any would-be deputy), he submitted to a battery of psychological and medical exams, took a polygraph test and underwent a background check.

Nothing in his past indicated a problem, officials said.

The victim’s parents lodged a complaint with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

In turn, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office agreed to handle the criminal investigation to avoid conflict-of-interest concerns.

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge says there’s no conflict in his office with taking on the case.

“We start from the proposition that this is in our county, the crime occurred here, and we’ll stay with it,” Hauge said. “The standard procedure is to prosecute and stay involved.”

If, however, it’s a case involving a member of the Sheriff’s administration or a police chief within Kitsap County — colleagues with whom Hauge often has direct contact — it may be referred to another jurisdiction to handle.

Snohomish County detectives presented Hauge and his staff with the results of their investigation March 26, and prosecutors decided to charge Kleinfelder on April 4.

According to court papers, the victim babysat for Kleinfelder and, over a 15-month period, the consensual relationship between them became progressively intimate through increased contact.

She was between 13 and 15 years old during that period.

Third-degree child rape is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

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