A Fort Lewis-based Army sergeant accused of repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty yesterday to several counts of third-degree child rape. Sgt. Kevin Robert Winkler, 31...

Share story

A Fort Lewis-based Army sergeant accused of repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty yesterday to several counts of third-degree child rape.

Sgt. Kevin Robert Winkler, 31, of 25th Alpha Company, admitted he had a consensual sexual relationship with the girl during the summer, according to court documents.

Winkler was a friend of the girl’s family and was serving with one of her relatives in the Army. He first made sexual advances toward the girl while visiting the family over the Fourth of July holiday, court papers say.

Until he was arrested in September, Winkler often stayed with the family under the guise of visiting the girl’s relative. Winkler admitted to police that he had sex with the girl several times over two months at the girl’s home in Kitsap County, at the Fort Lewis Army base and while on a trip to a dog show in Oregon, according to court documents.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

“Everybody trusted this guy,” said Kitsap County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Neil Wachter.

Winkler’s crimes were discovered when the 14-year-old girl told a Child Protective Services counselor that she and Winkler had been having sex frequently throughout the summer.

Counselors are required by law to report suspected abuse.

Winkler also pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree child molestation and one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes. Those charges stemmed from sexual contact he had with two of the 14-year-old girl’s underage friends, according to court documents.

On one occasion, he plied the girl and a group of her friends with alcohol and then “made out” with several of them, according to court papers. Winkler also admitted to sending obscene instant messages to one of the girl’s friends.

Winkler is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 24. Wachter said he plans to ask that Winkler get five years in prison.

Jessica Blanchard: 206-464-3896 or jblanchard@seattletimes.com