Ex-lifeguard held in alleged rape of 14-year-old guest at resort

A Thurston County judge found probable cause on Wednesday to hold a 19-year-old lifeguard at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound on investigation of third-degree child rape and second-degree rape for an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl who was a guest at the waterpark resort.

The lifeguard was arrested Tuesday afternoon at Rochester High School, where he is a senior, about 14 hours after he allegedly raped the girl in his car roughly two miles from the lodge, said Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin.

He initially was arrested on investigation of third-degree child rape because detectives had questions about the amount of force used in the alleged sexual assault, Elwin said. Though no weapon was used, Elwin said investigators later determined that the girl was physically overpowered and raped for 15 to 30 minutes and suffered minor injuries as a result of the sexual assault. That information was presented to the judge on Wednesday, who found probable cause for the more serious charge of second-degree rape, Elwin said.

The lifeguard befriended the girl in the pool area during the girl’s family vacation, Elwin said. The girl, who is from Rainier, Ore., was at the lodge with her parents and 21-year-old sister.

He got off shift, went home to change his clothes, then returned to the lodge, where he picked up the girl, who went with him voluntarily, sometime after midnight Tuesday, Elwin said.

They drove a short distance away — the girl was unfamiliar with the area so couldn’t pinpoint the exact location — and he dropped her back off at the resort after the alleged sexual assault, Elwin said.

The girl confided in her sister, and the family then called 911, he said. The girl told deputies that she did not consent to sex and her injuries were consistent with sexual assault, Elwin said.

An official for the Great Wolf Lodge said the man, hired last June, passed a background check and has no known criminal history, KIRO-TV reported.

The man is no longer employed at the resort, according to KIRO.

On Wednesday, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office encouraged anyone with information to call the Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Division at 360-786-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222.

Elwin said the resort is cooperating with police and that the incident appears to be “very isolated.”