Staffer at drug treatment center accused of sexually abusing residents
Jul 6, 2023, 9:46 PM
MILLCREEK, Utah — A former staff member at a facility that treats people for drug and alcohol abuse was arrested Thursday evening after being charged earlier this week with sexually abusing several residents.
Brooke Lynn Powell, 28, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with 13 counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and four counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor. A warrant was issued for her arrest. Thursday, members of the U.S. Marshals’ Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team tracked Powell down and arrested her.
“These charges represent nine separate victims, both male and female, who have come forward and reported (she) sexually assaulted them while they were residents at the Odyssey House. Many of the victims reported the defendant, a staff member, would threaten to get them in trouble with the program or with the court,” charging documents state.
Powell also offered rewards, such as food and drink, letting residents use her phone to access their social media pages, “or advancing them in the program if they engaged in sexual acts with her,” according to the charges. “(She) preyed upon the vulnerable population of Odyssey House residents.”
The charges allege that Powell inappropriately touched residents, asked some to help her get drugs, made sexually suggestive comments and exposed herself to some residents.
Charging documents do not specify the Odyssey House location at which the abuse allegedly occurred.
A spokesman for Odyssey House confirmed Wednesday that Powell’s employment there ended in February.
In a statement, Odyssey House CEO Adam Cohen said the organization is “deeply troubled by the allegations in this criminal complaint. … If proven, these allegations directly contradict our strict policies, ethical standards, and the very mission we stand for – empowering individuals to improve their lives.”
The statement says Odyssey House “categorically forbids” any sexual interactions between staff members and clients, and suspends accused staff members after receiving any allegation. “Should the allegation prove accurate, the staff member is immediately dismissed,” Cohen said, adding that the organization “has been and will continue to be fully cooperative with law enforcement throughout this investigation.”
“We find the details of the allegations abhorrent and, if validated, demand full accountability under the law,” he said.