Teenager testifies in deputy's trial

The child rape trial of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Kleinfelder closely resembled a daytime television soap opera Thursday morning.

The jury and the people crowding Superior Court Judge Jay Roof’s courtroom at the Kitsap County Courthouse in Port Orchard listened as Kleinfelder’s alleged victim told how the tall, dark-haired deputy began seducing her two years ago when she was 13.

Kleinfelder, 33, is charged with two charges of child rape and four counts of child molestation stemming from a relationship he allegedly had with a Port Orchard neighbor’s daughter after the child began babysitting for him.

The girl, now 15, alternated between tears and nervous smiles as she detailed her claim that her neighbor, whom she called “Bro,” began touching her inappropriately while she was at the Kleinfelder home babysitting Kleinfelder’s son, an infant at the time.

Kleinfelder and his wife have since separated.

According to the teenaged girl’s testimony on the stand Thursday, her relationship with Kleinfelder began with a kiss outside a mall, after which the couple “just got closer.”

“Just hugs,” at first, then “a kiss on the cheek,” and then one afternoon in March of 2001, she claimed the deputy took her and the baby to the Kitsap Mall without his wife.

“We were sitting (in the car) and he kissed me,” she said. “Just kind of looking at each other and he kissed me.”

At the time, the girl was 13. Later, after the couple pulled apart, the girl said Kleinfelder complimented her.

“You’re a cool kid,” she said the deputy told her.

Deputy Prosecutor Neil Wachter asked her how she felt at that moment.

“It was a shock,” she said. “I’m not gonna lie. I was excited. Here I was with this guy.”

The couple then went inside the Mall and “we got our picture taken.”

She said Kleinfelder then took her to Sam Goody’s and bought her a Back Street Boys CD.

Afterward, she said, back in the car they kissed again.

“He said I was a cheap date ... joking like,” she said.

Under the prodding of Wachter, the girl continued to describe a progressive “dating” relationship, which eventually progressed to oral sex and culminated in intercourse inside the Kleinfelder home in the bathroom.

According to charging documents, the girl claimed she and Kleinfelder had sex at least 10 times more when she was 14.

Kleinfelder’s attorney Clifford Morey of Tacoma told the jury in his opening statements Wednesday that the relationship between Kleinfelder and the girl was “big brother/little sister” and not sexual.

He called the girl’s story “made up.” Morey said that after Kleinfelder moved away in 2002, the young girl was upset.

No one, though, including Morey, disputes that the two spent a lot of time together, including the girl going along with Kleinfelder on “ride-alongs” in his patrol car, one of which lasted until midnight.

At the time, the girl was still 13.

She also became a Sheriff’s cadet at 14. According to her, Kleinfelder helped her do that even though the minimum age for police cadets is supposed to be 16 in Kitsap County.

Before the alleged victim took the stand Thursday morning, her father testified about finding out his daughter had been “molested” by a neighbor he liked and respected. Under cross-examination from Morey, the girl’s father said: “I thought (Kleinfelder) was a great guy ... I didn’t know him at all. I trusted his occupation. I believed in protect and serve.”

The man admitted under cross-examination that when his wife first told him what his daughter said had happened he went to a senior Kitsap County Sheriff officer and told him, “I’m going to kill one of your deputies.”

No attempts were made by the father to physically harm Kleinfelder, though.

Kleinfelder remains free and on paid administrative leave pending outcome of the trial.

If convicted of all six charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison. The initial charge was one count of rape of a child, but when the deputy refused to plead to it, new charges were added.

The trial is expected to last another week to 10 days.

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