Female Washington Christian School Teacher Who Sexually Abused Student Avoids Jail, Sentenced to House Arrest

Lindsey M. Westerfield
Lindsey M. Westerfield LinkedIn

A 31-year-old former Puyallup Christian high school teacher was sentenced on Friday, May 31, to six months of house arrest for having a sexual relationship with a student.

Lindsey M. Westerfield pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor for having sex with a student in spring 2019 while she was employed at Cascade Christian High School.

According to court documents obtained by the Tacoma News Tribune, Puyallup detectives opened an investigation against Westerfield but the case was stalled until 2022 when investigators learned that employment on the state's charter school commission, and the victim had disclosed additional details to authorities.

Westerfield and the Student Had Sexual Encounters at Each Other's Residences, Parking Garages

Two of the sexual encounters Westerfield was charged with occurred after the now-23-year-old victim's 18th birthday, according to court documents. State law prohibits sexual conduct between students under 21 and school employees who are at least five years older.

Westerfield resigned from her position with Cascade Christian Schools shortly after the Puyallup Police Department began investigating the allegations in summer 2019. According to charging documents, family friends of the defendant told police that her husband made comments about Westerfield having a relationship with a student.

The teacher and student communicated on Snapchat and met up at each other's houses and in parking garages, once on the night of the high school's junior-senior ball, records state. None of their encounters occurred on school grounds.

Victim Even Dropped Out of College to Get a Job to Financially Support Westerfield

When detectives first contacted the student, who was then 18, he reported he had an emotional relationship with Westerfield but declined to talk about any sexual activity.

The investigation remained open for more than three years before the student provided further information. During that time, the student's father told police the relationship had started up and ended multiple times. At one point, the victim dropped out of college to get a job to support Westerfield.

In August 2022, an investigator from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction contacted Puyallup police after learning Westerfield was trying to get a job with the state Charter School Commission, which authorizes charter schools statewide. Three months later, the OSPI investigator told Puyallup police that Westerfield had surrendered her education license and been fired.

Victim Told Investigators He and Westerfield Would Switch Off Their Phones so No One Could Track Their Location

A Puyallup detective contacted the victim's father the day they learned Westerfield had been fired. The father said his son, who was back in college studying psychology, might be willing to provide more details about Westerfield. In an interview with detectives, the student described multiple sexual encounters with Westerfield and the steps they took to keep their meetings secret, such as turning off their phones so no one could see their location.

He said he was "pretty horrified" looking back, realizing how a parent or other school officials would view the relationship. He said he blocked communications with Westerfield after ending the relationship in fall 2020.

As part of her sentence, Westerfield will also be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years and must undergo related treatment for four years and six months. She was ordered to have no contact with the victim and is barred from holding any position with supervision of minors under age 13.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ashcraft handed down the punishment as part of a 54-month suspended sentence. Westerfield had no prior criminal convictions.