Great Wolf lifeguard charged with rape

He says she consented to sex, but her injuries consistent with sexual assault, official says

jpawloski@theolympian.comMay 16, 2013 

Detectives with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a 19-year-old former lifeguard at Great Wolf Lodge on suspicion of third-degree child rape, court records state.

Alex Salazar, who was arrested Tuesday at Rochester High School, where he is a senior, is accused in court papers of raping a 14-year-old girl whom he met while she was staying at Great Wolf Lodge with her family.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy ordered Salazar held at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of third-degree rape of a child and second-degree rape. She set his bail at $20,000.

The alleged rape occurred Tuesday, court papers state. Great Wolf Lodge security staff have shared surveillance footage with detectives showing the girl and Salazar leaving the hotel just past midnight Tuesday.

The girl has said Salazar drove her to an unknown location in his car and raped her, court papers state.

She has told detectives she did not consent to the sexual contact with Salazar. Salazar denied this, stating that “he stopped when she said to stop.”

Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Wednesday that the girl has injuries that are consistent with sexual assault. Elwin said the girl and her family are from Oregon and were at Great Wolf Lodge on a vacation.

Salazar told detectives that the accuser told him she is 14 years old, but said “he did not believe her,” according to court records.

The 14-year-old and her 21-year-old sister both befriended Salazar while they were guests at Great Wolf Lodge, court papers state. They both “advised the lifeguard of the victim’s age of 14 years old,” court papers state.

When Salazar saw a deputy approach him at Rochester High School on Tuesday, he “immediately began crying and said, ‘I messed up,’” court records state.

If Salazar makes bail, he will be allowed to complete his education at Rochester High School and graduate, court papers state. As a condition of his release, however, he must remain at home when he is not in school.

Salazar’s father, Jaime Salazar, said outside court Wednesday that he is shocked by the allegations against his son.

“He’s a nice kid. We’ve never had any problems,” he said.

Court records indicate Great Wolf Lodge has fired Salazar from his position as a lifeguard.

Salazar has no criminal history. The third-degree rape of a child allegation is due to the age difference between him and the alleged victim. The second-degree rape allegation is due to the girl’s statements that she did not give consent.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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