SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — A 35-year-old Salem woman faces 20 counts of rape and sodomy, including five counts in the first degree, in a case involving a 12-year-old boy.
Sarah Beth Hopkins was arrested Sunday evening, after the boy’s mother confronted Hopkins and then called police.
“The boy confirmed that he, in fact, had been involved in this relationship with this 35-year-old woman,” Marion County Sgt. Don Thomson said.
Hopkins made her first court appearance on the charges Monday afternoon.
Sheriff’s deputies said Hopkins is believed to have sexually abused the boy for eight months, starting when he was 11-years-old. They said Hopkins lived at the same northeast Salem apartment complex as the boy’s family.
Hopkins is described by deputies as a trusted family friend. The abuse is believed to have happened at Hopkins’ apartment and during walks Hopkins took with the boy.
They said the boy’s mother became suspicious about the closeness of their relationship. The abuse began in February, and ended when Hopkins moved out of the apartment complex two weeks ago.
Child abuse experts told KOIN that the crimes that occurred in this case are all too common.
“Child molesters are known to the family about 60 percent of the time,” said Dr. Erin Hurley, a clinician with the Liberty House, a nonprofit group in Salem that deal with child-abuse issues.
Hurley said parents should talk to their kids about child abuse, and trust their instincts.
According to the sheriff’s office, the abuse ended two weeks ago — when Hopkins moved away from the apartment complex. Hopkins is being held at the Marion County Jail on $1 million bail.
The case now goes to a grand jury.
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