Daycare employee charged with sex offenses

Federal Way man was employed at Discovery Playtown in Maple Valley.

Prosecutors have charged a Federal Way man, a former daycare employee in Maple Valley near Renton, with child sex offenses.

Prosecutors filed charges on June 4 against 25-year-old Joseph Hefner of Federal Way, including rape of a child in the first degree, child molestation in the first degree, and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Hefner served as an employee at Discovery Playtown in Maple Valley, and met the family of the two victims in the case working at the daycare.

Additionally, Hefner held a previous juvenile conviction for child molestation in the first degree, having been arrested in 2012 and serving as a registered sex offender until 2021, according to prosecutorial documents.

His record was expunged in 2021, which allowed Hefner to apply to work at Discovery Playtown, where he was employed until sometime this year, said Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala (PCVA) Attorney Benjamin Watson, who is representing the families.

Prosecutors have charged Hefner with having sexual intercourse and sexual contact and communicating in a sexual nature with two minors in incidents within a range of Jan. 1, 2022, to May 2, 2024.

According to documents, Hefner maintained a friendship with the children’s family for years.

According to the affidavit, the King County Sheriff’s Office received a report against Hefner regarding a child sex offense on May 2, 2024. Law enforcement arrested Hefner on May 31, 2024, following an investigation.

In a police interview with Hefner, Hefner admitted to a sexual incident between him and one of the children, having sexual contact multiple times, both at the family’s home and his residence with one of the children, and to communicating with one of the children via Discord, an online social media platform, regarding sexual content and sending sexually explicit videos, according to the affidavit.

According to Casey McNerthney, director of communications for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Hefner remains in custody on $500,000 bail, set at his first appearance hearing in the King County Superior Court. According to McNerthney, the court scheduled Hefner’s arraignment for June 13 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

The charges against Henfer are only allegations, and they are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

It was reported that the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families revoked Discovery Playtown’s license on June 10 to investigate the issue further.