Arraignment for grandmother in sex-abuse case postponed when she is taken to Harborview

Editor's note: The Wednesday morning arraignment for Rose Marie Johnson, 54, a local grandmother charged with three counts of first-degree child molestation, had to be postponed.

Johnson reportedly had been admitted into Seattle's Harborview Hospital, according to a court administrator at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center. It wasn't clear when Johnson had been admitted to the hospital, or for what reason. The Kent Reporter will update this story as more information becomes available.

King County prosecutors have charged a 54-year-old grandmother with three counts of first-degree child molestation in connection with the alleged abuse of three children under the age of 12 who stayed with her while she lived in Kent.

Rose Marie Johnson, 54, whose last known address was in Auburn, is scheduled to be arraigned for the alleged sexual abuse of the children at 9 a.m. Aug. 18 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors filed charges Aug. 9 against Johnson, also known as Rose M. Harris. Johnson remains out of custody, but an arrest warrant has been issued for her. Prosecutors have requested bail to be set at $150,000 and that Johnson be ordered to have no contact with any of the victims.

The alleged abuse occurred between 2001 and 2005 while Johnson lived in at least three apartment complexes in Kent, according to charging papers. She also moved during those years to homes in Auburn and Federal Way.

"The defendant's actions in this case are extremely serious and disturbing," said prosecutor Charles Sergis in the charging papers. "According to the victims and other witnesses, the defendant engaged in a pattern of abuse, including physical, sexual and psychological, against several children over many years.

"Based on her actions as outlined in this case, the defendant poses a serious threat to the community, especially to any children she comes in contact with."

One of the children, now 12, disclosed during a March investigation by Auburn Police that several years ago Johnson had made her consume human feces and urine as a form of punishment if the children did not have sexual contact with each other while Johnson watched. Johnson lived in Kent at that time.

The child told police the alleged abuse started when two of the children were ages 4 and 5.

Johnson reportedly physically abused three other children who visited or stayed with her between 2001 and 2006. But the statute of limitations is three years for physical abuse so no charges could be filed for those incidents, according to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Kent Police initially investigated Johnson in 2008 for allegations of physical and sexual abuse of a child, but the case was closed due to an inability to substantiate the child's statements, according to court documents.

The new developments told by a child to Auburn Police caused Kent detectives to launch a new investigation. Detectives interviewed the children and found out new allegations against Johnson. Detectives filed a determination of probable cause document in July with prosecutors.

Johnson reportedly paid the children $5 to have sexual contact with each other. The children told detectives they knew what Johnson made them do was wrong but they feared being "whooped" by Johnson if they refused to perform the sexual acts.

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