Innappropriate texting costs Gig Harbor man

A 37-year-old Gig Harbor man is under house arrest after admitting to sending sexual text messages to a Port Orchard girl earlier this year, according to Kitsap County Superior Court documents.

Kenneth F. Price pleaded guilty last month to one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. He was sentenced May 29 to 30 days house arrest and began serving that sentence June 2.

Price was arrested in March following an investigation by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies first learned of a potential inappropriate relationship when the father of the victim reported in late January that his friend, Price, had been communicating with his 15-year-old daughter.

According to the probable cause statement filed in March, the victim’s mother discovered messages on her daughter’s cell phone that she deemed inappropriate and told her ex-husband about them.

Prior to looking at her daughter’s phone, the mother said she had read the teen’s journal and found entries that indicated her daughter had a “crush” on Price.

After learning of the cell phone messages, the father told deputies he confronted his friend about them. He said Price initially admitted to e-mailing the girl, but said he had only e-mailed her back to say that “anything more than a friendship between them would be inappropriate.”

However, the father said that a couple of days later Price asked to talk to him and went on to admit that he had been sending text messages to the teen that were “inappropriate and sexual in nature, but that he had never touched her.”

On Feb. 1, the teen was interviewed by a member of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Assault Unit, at which time the teen reportedly admitted that she had received text messages from Price that were “sexual in nature,” and that Price had told her that “he could get into trouble for how they were communicating.”

In late March, a deputy received requested phone records from Price’s cell phone provider after filing a warrant. Soon after, Price was arrested and charged with communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Price changed his not-guilty plea to guilty last month and was sentenced May 29.

Price is the son of the late Bob Price, who founded WestBay Auto Parts in Port Orchard in 1961. The chain now has eight stores, and Ken Price is listed as president of the company.

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