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Seattle firefighter charged with child rape for relationship with teen girl

Seattle firefighter Michael Sulak is shown in a Seattle Channel program called the Firehouse Chef in 2013. Sulak faces multiple child rape charges for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. (YouTube screen grab)

A Seattle firefighter has been charged with rape for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl several times last year.

Michael James Sulak was charged Tuesday in Whatcom County Superior Court with three counts of third-degree child rape and one count of unlawful harboring of a minor.

The girl, who has since turned 16, told authorities she first met Sulak through the Northwest Washington Theater Group, according to court documents obtained by Q13.

The girl said they quickly grew close because she felt he "really listened to her," according to the documents. She admitted to being flirtatious with him, and told authorities the pair had sex twice on a catwalk at Meridian High School during a performance.

The girl's father became concerned his daughter might be involved in a relationship with an adult and provided an iPod to law enforcement she used to communicate with Sulak via text messages, the documents said.

The girl's father reported her as a runaway Dec. 26 to the Lynden Police Department after she failed to return home. Police told investigators she spent at least part of that time at Sulak's Ferndale home.

The firefighter also allegedly brought her to Seattle while he was on duty, where she told investigators they had sex in his truck near his fire station.

The court documents say Sulak knew the girl was 15 and he admitted to having sex with her on four separate occasions. He also admitted he was wrong and "made an error in judgement."

The Seattle Fire Department issued the following statement:

"The Seattle Fire Department is aware of the arrest of a Seattle Firefighter. He has been on disability for an injury since February 8. He has been placed on administrative leave. The firefighter has been employed since January 1999. He worked at Station 8 and has been employed since January 1999."

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