DC youth detention employee charged with sexually abusing teen in custody

WARNING: This article contains graphic description of sexual assault. 

An employee of D.C.’s Youth Rehabilitation Services agency is facing charges that he sexually abused a teenage girl in custody there.

Kelvin Powell, 60, of Temple Hills is facing charges of first and second degree sexual abuse of a minor. He denies any wrongdoing and when shown evidence of the alleged abuse, he said he didn’t remember it.

The victim is a 17-year-old who has been housed at the facility since last October. The incidents allegedly started about a month after she arrived, either late November or early December, with the most recent one occurring in late February.

The investigation began in early March.

Court documents allege the incidents would primarily happen while the girl was being escorted by Powell to make outside phone calls afforded her for good behavior in the facility. They document a series of events that began with Powell allegedly saying inappropriate things to the girl, sometimes while touching himself.

It’s alleged Powell later began touching and groping the girl, and on at least one occasion sexually penetrating her with what she says he told her was “just the tip.”

She told police that she began speaking to investigators after having nightmares about him entering her cell at the facility.

Days before she told police about the incidents, she had denied being inappropriately touched or sexually abused by anyone there when she was interviewed for a separate investigation. She told police she wasn’t ready to talk about it at the time.

A report filed by investigators says a subsequent review of surveillance camera footage showed Powell acting in a way that’s consistent with what the girl said had happened.

Police said in the documents that Powell denied doing anything inappropriate, and said one time the girl kissed him, not the other way around. When presented with surveillance photos that showed him touching her inappropriately, he told police he didn’t recall that incident.

Powell is scheduled to appear in court for a review hearing on Monday afternoon.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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