Sheriff’s deputy pleads guilty to child molestation

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy accused of sleeping with his babysitter pleaded guilty to third-degree child molestation in Kitsap County Superior Court Monday, after resigning his position the day before Thanksgiving.

Kleinfelder’s trial ended in a hung jury last summer.

Deputy Prosecutor Tim Drury said the plea agreement reached between his office and Michael Kleinfelder, 32, is a felony that will require the deputy — currently on leave — to register as a sex offender.

“We’ve been working with him to see if we could reach some resolution,” Drury said. “We told him if he agreed to a felony sex offense, we would only ask for one count.”

Kleinfelder went to trial in July, charged with two counts of child rape and four counts child molestation. The victim — a neighbor and family friend who babysat his son — was 13 when the sexual contact between them began in 2001.

After a three-week trial, a jury of seven men and five women were dismissed by Superior Court Judge Jay B. Roof, when the members claimed to be hopelessly deadlocked over Kleinfelder’s guilt or innocence.

“Going to trial once shows it’s not a slam-dunker either way,” Drury said. “It was difficult for both sides. We felt this was a good resolution.”

According to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Spokesman Scott Wilson, Kleinfelder voluntarily resigned his position on Wednesday, Nov. 26. His status before the resignation was on administrative leave and he is currently on annual leave which means Kleinfelder will be burning accrued vacation time until Dec. 10, Wilson said.

Since Kleinfelder’s plea agreement includes a felony conviction, Wilson said he is banned from working as a peace or law enforcement officer again.

Drury said Kleinfelder faces six to 12 months in jail.

He will be formally sentenced on Jan. 9.

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