Crime

UPDATE: Richland juvenile home official charged with sex with teen

The Twin Rivers Community Facility on McMurray Street in Richland, shown here in 1998, is for juvenile felony offenders who are transitioning back into the community.
The Twin Rivers Community Facility on McMurray Street in Richland, shown here in 1998, is for juvenile felony offenders who are transitioning back into the community. Tri-City Herald

The acting administrator at a home for juvenile felony offenders in Richland is charged with having sex at least once with an 18-year-old felon housed there.

Mindi M. Stoker, 38, of Pasco, pleaded innocent Monday to one count each of first- and second-degree custodial sexual misconduct with the young offender.

Investigators said she allegedly kept a “To do” list on her cellphone of the sexual experiences she wanted to have with the teen. The list also included helping the 18-year-old get back his gun rights and having his criminal record sealed.

Stoker was released Monday from the Benton County jail after posting a bond on $20,000 bail.

She works at the Twin Rivers Community Facility, which helps offenders sentenced as juveniles to transition back into society toward the end of their sentences.

A release from the state Department of Social and Health Services, which operates Twin Rivers through its Rehabilitation Administration, said Stoker has been placed on alternative assignment until an internal investigation is finished.

“This is inexcusable for any of our staff, and especially intolerable for someone in a position of authority,” said Assistant Secretary John Clayton.

Twin Rivers is one of several facilities maintained around the state. The group home at 605 McMurray St. in north Richland has 15 beds for offenders.

The Richland School District provides educational programs at the home but is otherwise not involved in its day-to-day operations and management. Information on how long Stoker has worked at the facility was not immediately available.

Authorities learned of the alleged relationship between Stoker and the 18-year-old after the teen’s roommate told staffers the two were having sex. That triggered an investigation by DSHS, Child Protective Services, the Washington State Patrol and Richland police.

“We take these extremely seriously, especially in a custodial circumstance,” Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb told the Herald.

Stoker’s victim initially denied having any inappropriate relationship with her, court documents said. But after being told he was not in trouble, the teen told a Richland detective the relationship with Stoker began about Oct. 20 when she took him on a trip to another juvenile facility, and they had sexual contact on the drive back.

Stoker and the resident had numerous other instances of sexually touching each other since that time and had sex in a bathroom at Twin Rivers. Richland police said there are witnesses to some of the instances when the pair engaged in sexual contact.

Investigators found 36 notes on Stoker’s phone, including a “To do” list that listed numerous sexual acts and locations for sexual contact with a person with the initials that match the victim’s initials.

Richland police are still investigating and DSHS officials said they are cooperating with those efforts. A decision on Stoker’s continued employment with the state agency also is expected in a few days, DSHS officials said.

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