Crime

Bellingham couple suspected of child rape and incest over past four years

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
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Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

A Bellingham couple was arrested Tuesday, July 23, after they reportedly admitted to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office investigators that they sexually assaulted a girl they were familiar with over the past four years.

Damian Lee Johnston, 35, and Kristi Lynn Johnston, 31, were each booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of second-degree child rape, third-degree child rape and first-degree incest.

According to information provided to The Bellingham Herald by Chief Deputy Kevin Hester, Damian Johnston had sexual intercourse with the girl on multiple occasions between 2015 and 2019. The girl was 13 at the time of the first assault.

Kristi Johnston knew about the sexual assaults, Hester said, and on occasion, she participated in them.

Hester said both suspects admitted to the crimes and were arrested without incident.

Damian Johnston has previous felony convictions for forgery, taking a vehicle without permission and providing false identification to police in Snohomish County between 2013 and 2015 and possession of a controlled substance, second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft in Whatcom County between 2009 and 2012.

Kristi Johnston is scheduled for a jury trial beginning Aug. 12 for charges of first-degree burglary and fourth-degree assault.

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Resources

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour Help Line: 360-715-1563, Email: info@dvsas.org.

Lummi Victims of Crime: 360-312-2015.

Bellingham Police: You can call anonymously at 360-778-8611, or go online at cob.org/tips.

Brigid Collins Family Support Center: 360-734-4616, brigidcollins.org.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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