Rochester business owner accused of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12


The owner of Hive 5 Bees and Pacific Northwest Honey Company in Rochester is facing one count of first-degree rape of a child in Thurston County Superior Court following a Thurston County Sheriff’s Office investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted a child under the age of 12.

The charge is a class A felony punishable by up to life in prison.

Kevin Mills, 38, of Rochester, was arrested and booked into the Thurston County jail at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22, according to court documents.

The Chronicle is limiting publication of details of the investigation in order to protect the identity of the victim.

The sexual assault was reported by a friend of Mills’ wife, who is also a business partner in the Mills’ businesses, on Tuesday, May 21, according to court documents. According to the friend, Mills’ wife “had a nervous breakdown about a year ago and came to her with some shocking information,” specifically that Mills was “having an affair” with a young girl. At the time, Mills allegedly confirmed the allegations were true and “said his life was in their hands for all the information they know,” according to court documents. 

The friend told law enforcement that at the time she learned about the sexual assault, “she knew the issue was serious but was not sure how to report it without any physical evidence,” according to court documents.

Around the same time, on April 18, 2023, Mills and his wife disclosed the sexual assault to a pastor at Rochester Life Assembly of God, who did not report it to law enforcement.

When questioned by a deputy, the pastor reported he “was supportive and prayed with them about it” and met with them two to three times over the next year “to make sure the behavior had stopped,” but said he “had no details about the sexual allegations” and “was in absolute shock and had never seen anything that would lead him to believe the acts were true,” according to court documents.

Mills’ wife later told investigators that at the time she found out about the sexual assault, she “was scared because she would lose her house, business and family” and “wanted to weigh her options about how to proceed,” according to court documents. She reported she “implemented other means to protect (the victim) such as limiting their time alone together and frequent check-ins with (the victim).” She reportedly told investigators “she never told (the victim) not to talk to anyone, but did mention (Mills) would go to jail if other people found out,” according to court documents.

Mills’ wife allegedly told the friend at the time “that she would lie about the allegations” if they were reported. For the next year, the friend reported that she and her husband  “would closely monitor and look for signs of further abuse.”

They reportedly “saw something suspicious” on May 3, 2024, that the friend believed was Mills assaulting the victim under a blanket.

When a Thurston County Sheriff’s Office deputy asked why she did not report this when it happened, the friend reportedly “said she still didn’t have any physical proof” and “was still trying to figure out what to do without any proof.” When the deputy “expressed concerns … about the failure to report possible child abuse,” the friend reportedly “said she had a similar incident” with another child “and the system failed her without any proof.”

After speaking with multiple people who knew the Mills family and the victim, as well as a private investigator, the friend and her husband reportedly spoke to Mills and his wife over the phone on May 20, 2024.

During the phone call, “A two option scenario was presented: either Kevin turns himself in or they continue to seek guidance from (their pastor) while the family still lives together,” according to court documents. When the friend “insisted Kevin needed to go to jail,” Mills’ wife reportedly “began crying” and told the friend “their family has had the best year of their life and she would be tearing their family apart if she reported Kevin,” according to court documents.

After the conversation, the friend and her husband “decided to step away as partners at Hive 5 Bees and Pacific Northwest Honey,” while Mills worked on transferring everything with the business into his wife’s name, according to court documents. “They knew that law enforcement had been contacted and wanted to get everything in order before Kevin went to jail,” according to court documents.

A deputy responded to Mills’ residence in Rochester at about 11 a.m. on May 22 “under the impression that Kevin would not be home at the time,” according to court documents. Mills was in the residence, however, and allegedly “said he knew why (the deputy) was there and invited him inside.” He was then arrested.

He was charged in Thurston County Superior Court on Thursday, May 23, and posted bail on May 24.

A no-contact order protecting the victim is in place. His conditions of release prohibit him from leaving Western Washington.

Arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 4.

In addition to co-owning Hive 5 Bees and Pacific NW Honey Company, Mills is a known gospel singer and the former owner of Mills Diner in Rochester.