Maple Valley day care employee charged with child sex offenses

Joseph Hefner recently worked at Discovery Playtown, north of Black Diamond, when he was arrested.

A former Maple Valley daycare employee has been arrested on suspicion of child sex offenses, and his employer’s license has been suspended by the state.

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

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Hefner was an employee at Discovery Playtown in Maple Valley, 26545 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road SE, which is where he met the family of the two victims in the case.

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 court 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 allege these new charges occurred between Jan. 1, 2022 to May 2, 2024. Law enforcement arrested Hefner on May 31 following an investigation.

Hefner admitted in a police interview 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.

The Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families suspended Discovery Playtown’s’ license on June 5 to investigate the issue further, and has not determined when the suspension may be lifted.

Anyone who believes they might be a victim, or knows someone who is, can contact PCVA at 206-451-8260 or

Courier-Herald Editor Ray Miller-Still contributed to this report.