Arlington youth pastor charged with child rape

Kendal Kippen, now 27, was formally accused of abusing a girl, 15, he met at Jake’s House Church. Others have alleged abuse, too.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Arlington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

ARLINGTON — An Arlington youth pastor has been charged with two counts of third-degree child rape for accusations he abused a girl he met in a youth group.

Kendal Kippen, 27, of Stanwood, worked at Jake’s House Church in 2017 and 2018, according to charging papers filed this month in Snohomish County Superior Court. His father is the lead pastor of the church.

In August 2017, a 15-year-old girl reported she met Kippen, then 22, at a church camp in Eastern Washington. They became friends and exchanged contact information.

“The victim was flattered at first,” wrote deputy prosecutor Bob Langbehn, “as the defendant was quite a few years older than she, and she felt that his position in the church would mean he was a safe person.”

The following month, Kippen reportedly asked the girl if he could pick her up and take her back to his house in Marysville, saying his parents were out of town. She agreed and sneaked out of her house. Back at Kippen’s home, the two had sexual contact, the charges say.

The girl and Kippen continued to see each other for months.

“The defendant would often tell the victim that she couldn’t say anything to anyone until after she turned 16 as that is the age of consent in Washington,” the prosecutor wrote.

In September 2020, an anonymous tipster called police to report a youth pastor at an Arlington-area church had been having “inappropriate relations” with several young members of the congregation.

“The caller was concerned,” the charges say, “because it appeared the leaders of the church, which included the defendant’s father, were attempting to handle the situation without involving law enforcement.”

A police investigation revealed Kippen had repeated sexual contact with the 15-year-old girl he met at Jake’s House Church.

In November 2020, church leadership sent out an email to congregation members announcing Kippen had been “removed” from his position as youth pastor, as of August that year. He later resigned entirely from the church staff, according to the email.

The youth pastor was arrested in February and booked into the Snohomish County Jail in Everett for investigation of child rape. Hours later, he posted $30,000 bond.

Earlier this month, the victim in the child rape cases, now in her late teens, filed a civil lawsuit against Kippen and Jake’s House. The legal complaint alleges Kippen’s father and other church leadership were negligent in their handling of abuse allegations.

When accusations surfaced in 2020, a group of senior leaders and pastors started meeting with Kippen to give him counseling and spiritual advice regarding his “sinful behavior,” according to the complaint.

Keith Kippen reportedly met with the victim’s father later that year and told him his son had an “inappropriate” relationship with the victim.

Keith Kippen “said that he would do anything he could to make this right, and that God had told him to give (the victim) his sports car,” the complaint reads.

Another woman told The Daily Herald she was a victim of Kippen’s abuse, beginning in 2016 when she attended youth group at Jake’s House. She was 17.

They started out as friends. He began grooming her and sent her sexually explicit messages, she said.

Kippen sexually abused her at church-sanctioned events, such as a summer camp, she said.

The young woman dreamt of working in church leadership one day. He leveraged that goal, she said, and told her those dreams would never come true if she came forward about the abuse.

That trauma dissuaded her from being part of any kind of church.

Six years later, she said she’s doing really well. She recently started a new job in a community where she feels safe and supported.

The official charges brought her some relief.

“It feels really good,” she said Thursday. “On the one hand, I’m shocked, and on the other hand, I’m not surprised at all.”

She said her main concern with the case moving forward is the chaos it could cause in her life. Every time there is a new development, she said she gets a barrage of messages.

“I’ve set a lot of boundaries with people,” she said. “I’ve had to learn to say, like, ‘I’m not engaging in this conversation with you.’”

If there’s anything positive she gleaned from her trauma, it was gaining resilience and the ability to prioritize her own mental health.

“A lot of people don’t learn how to set boundaries like that until later in life,” she said. “Unless you go through something like this that forces you to.”

Recent court records did not list a defense attorney for Kippen.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives believe there may be more victims, according to court documents. Tips can be directed to 425-388-3845.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @reporterellen.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

A photo of "Tazz," an Argentine white Tegu still missing near Granite Falls. (Provided photo)
Tazz the missing tegu reunited with owner in Granite Falls

The 4-foot lizard went missing Friday evening. Searchers located him in a barn, 1 mile away from his home.

A closing sign hangs above the entrance of the Big Lots at Evergreen and Madison on Monday, July 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Big Lots announces it will shutter Everett and Lynnwood stores

The Marysville store will remain open for now. The retailer reported declining sales in the first quarter of the year.

President Joe Biden speaks at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in Greensboro, N.C., on April 14, 2022. Biden plans to nominate Michael Barr  to be the Federal Reserve's vice chairman of supervision. The selection of Barr comes after Biden's first choice for the Fed post, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew her nomination a month ago (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Washington Democrats voice support for Biden’s decision to drop out of presidential race

Some quickly endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to replace him on the ballot.

Teenager in stable condition after Everett drive-by shooting Saturday

Major Crime Unit detectives were looking for two suspects believed to have shot the teenager in the 600 block of 124th Street SW.

Miners Complex tops 500 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Nine lightning-caused fires force trail closures and warnings 21 miles east of Darrington. No homes are threatened.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.