Child molestation charges dropped for Snohomish teacher

Kelsey Peters had been accused of sexually assaulting a teen boy she nannied.

EVERETT — A Snohomish teacher accused of molesting a teen boy learned that she will not have to face trial, just as it was about to begin.

Kelsey Peters, 26, of Lynnwood, was an elementary teacher for the Snohomish School District when allegations surfaced that she engaged in sex acts with the boy, whom she nannied, on at least three separate occasions. In an arrest report, a Snohomish County sheriff’s detective indicated that the boy was between 13 and 15 during the alleged encounters. Peters is nearly a decade his senior.

Peters was charged in August 2018 with third-degree child molestation. But after the defense presented new text messages, along with a 38-page report detailing their own investigation, deputy prosecutor Jarett Goodkin moved to dismiss the case on July 12 in Snohomish County Superior Court.

“The State has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” Goodkin wrote.

In charging papers, prosecutors relied heavily on the boy’s version of events. At the time, Peters chose not to speak.

Representing Peters, Everett attorney Pete Mazzone said the boy’s statements didn’t hold water during additional interviews. Also, text messages exchanged between the defendant and the boy appeared to conflict with his account.

“The timeline and the things this boy was saying — they didn’t make any sense,” Mazzone said. “… We were able to demonstrate to the prosecuting attorney’s office what the boy was saying simply could not be true.”

Peters worked as a substitute in Snohomish schools starting in November 2014, and taught third grade full-time for the 2016-2017 school year.

She was moved to kindergarten classes for the 2017-2018 academic year, but the district placed her on administrative leave before school started. She never returned to work, and her contract wasn’t renewed.

Court papers say Peters was at Dutch Hill Elementary in September 2017, when the boy’s parents filed a police report.

Now that criminal charges are no longer being pursued, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will continue its own investigation.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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