Right-wing youth pastor Pastor Kendal Kippen, from Arlington, Washington, was arrested and charged with two counts of child rape for allegedly sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, local news outlet The Everett Herald reports.
According to The Herald, Kippen met a 15-year-old girl at a youth group in 2017. Kippen, a fervent Trump defender, was 22 at the time. The two became friends and exchanged contact information.
The girl told prosecutors that she felt comfortable exchanging her information with Kippen because he was a church leader and she believed he would not take advantage of his position. But he proved otherwise.
She said the relationship quickly grew to be sexual in nature and that Kippen repeatedly urged her to not tell anyone about their relationship until she turned 16 years old, which is the legal age of consent in Washington.
According to prosecutors, it appears that the 15-year-old girl wasn’t the only member of the church who drew Kippen’s attention. An anonymous tipster called police in 2020 to report that he had been having “inappropriate relations” with multiple young congregants.
Prosecutors allege that “the caller was concerned because it appeared the leaders of the church, which included the defendant’s father, were attempting to handle the situation without involving law enforcement.”