Winters pleads guilty in teen client rape trial

Rebecca Q. Winters

DOVER — A 30-year-old woman pleaded guilty to three counts of fourth-degree rape on Wednesday regarding a sexual relationship with a teen client at a drug and alcohol treatment center in 2015.

The trial of Rebecca Q. Winters was in its third day in Kent County Superior Court when the plea was accepted. She will be sentenced on Feb. 28, 2017.

Judge Jeffrey Clark ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Police began an investigation in August 2015 after an anonymous tip arrived from Crossroads of Delaware treatment facility to the Delaware Division of Family Services that Winters, a counselor, was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old male in treatment for marijuana use.
Deputy Attorney General Kathy Dickerson prosecuted the case, while attorney John Malik represented Winters.

The third day of the trial against Winters opened with a probation officer’s recollections of the youth’s time in drug and alcohol treatment programs.

The officer monitored the minor for over a year while he was under the care of Psychiatric Services Incorporated for continued marijuana abuse before being sent to Crossroads of Delaware in Milford in April 2015, according to testimony.

The youth, now 17, was referred to Crossroads from PSI after escalating marijuana use was detected, the officer said, where counselor Winters (also known as Adams) was later accused of taking part in a sexual relationship with him.

Winters was charged with 36 counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor.

An investigation began in August 2015 after an anonymous tip from Crossroads was sent to the Division of Family Services, who contacted police.

The officer testified to the youth’s continued curfew breaking and drug use while in PSI’s program use as a violation of probation and court-ordered reason for escalating supervision and treatment at the full day Crossroads.

His mother was uncomfortable with the move from PSI, citing a strong relationship with a male counselor that her son had established, the officer said.

“I did not believe he was doing well,” the officer testified.

PSI remained in contact with the youth as a transition to Crossroads began, and an Intensive Outpatient Program allowed for counselor-monitored recreational trips such as movies, restaurants and beach visits after the day session, the officer said.

The officer testified that while the youth reportedly missed curfew when returning from visits, only a late return after 11 p.m. drew any concern. The juvenile’s mother expressed being uncomfortable with the lateness, and the officer checked with Winters, who reported via e-mail that a movie they attended had run late.

Winters e-mailed the PO on May 29, 2015, that the boy had refused to provide urine samples for drug testing, which brought the threat of possible more intensive treatment at a residential center in the Baltimore area.

The PO testified that on June 7, 2015, Winters reported through email her belief that the minor was manipulating his drug tests based on a clean finding within one day of a laboratory test positive for marijuana.

The youth did not admit to the manipulation at a June 11 sentence review, according to the PO. A violation of probation order was filed regarding tardiness to pickup times for treatment.

He was earlier adjudicated delinquent on a burglary charge in Family Court to bring probation.

On June 24, 2015, the PO reported drug screens indicating the youth’s marijuana levels were dropping, and the Family Court deferred further action for 30 days.

On July 21, 2015, according to the PO, Winters emailed that the boy had tested negative for marijuana through an instant test and lab result and he was making progress with participating in the day program. Only an infraction for smoking a cigarette was noted, according to testimony.

Another reported clean finding was presented to Family Court on Aug. 6, 2015, the PO said, and there was talk of the youth joining Job Corps. A GPS monitor was disabled and the minor was ordered to complete the program.

On Aug. 18, 2015, the teen’s mother notified the PO of allegations of an improper relationship between her son and counselor. He was then removed from Crossroads.

The PO testified that the youth’s marijuana test results began to rise afterwards and a program at PSI was never completed.

In testimony, the officer said the youth’s supervision was changed from intensive to regular in February 2016 and he was removed from her caseload.

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