EVERETT — A former youth pastor convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at his Arlington church was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months in prison.
Following a brief bench trial in April, a judge found Kendal Kippen, 27, guilty of third-degree rape of a child Tuesday.
In 2017 and 2018, the Stanwood man worked at Jake’s House Church, the same Arlington ministry where his father served as a pastor, charging papers say. As a youth pastor, the defendant was responsible for leading events and organizing camps.
In August 2020, Kippen was “removed” from his position amid allegations he sexually abused multiple young members, according to an email sent out by church leadership. He later resigned entirely from the church staff.
At Kippen’s sentencing Tuesday, the young woman, now 21, addressed the court.
“I feel it is my responsibility to stand here for the other victims of Kendal’s who are unable to seek criminal charges,” she said. “Kendal Kippen is a groomer and a rapist, who used his position in the church to posture himself to young, vulnerable girls. He should never have the chance to commit these crimes again.”
The girl began attending Jake’s House Church when she was 14. The former pastor began “grooming” the girl when she was 15, driving her home from church and talking to her on social media, according to the charges filed last year.
From October 2017 to April 2018, Kippen sexually abused her on a regular basis, prosecutors alleged.
In court Tuesday, she expressed severe struggles post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Kippen’s abuse, to the point where she dropped out of high school.
“This defeated me greatly, having loved school my entire life,” she said. “I aspired to go to the University of Washington when I graduated high school. All of my plans were stopped in their tracks by the trauma and absolute terror I was living in.”
Under state sentencing guidelines, Kippen faced 12 to 14 months in prison. Both deputy prosecutor Caleb Nagel and defense attorney Laura Shaver recommended the high end of that range.
“I’m sure that sentencing range is completely unsatisfactory to many people in this room,” Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Karen Moore said, before turning to the young woman. “I certainly hope and pray for you, that you will come to the fact that you did nothing wrong. Nothing.”
A worker at the church Tuesday stated “there is no one available at this time” to comment on Kippen’s sentencing.
Upon resigning from the church, Kippen wrote he took “ownership” of what he’d done and that he would “repent for the lying and sin that has been in my life.”
After Kippen received his sentence Tuesday, deputies handcuffed the former youth pastor and led him from the courtroom.
“Our daughter is a strong, beautiful human being,” the young woman’s parents wrote in a letter to the judge. “The bravery she has shown these last three years, from the time the police first called her to today, is something very few people will ever understand.”