Crime

Man suspected of raping girl in Whatcom County, threatening to kill her if she told

A 33-year-old man is suspected of sexually molesting a 4- or 5-year-old girl he was familiar with in Everett, later raping her when she lived in Whatcom County and threatening to kill her and her family if she told anyone.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office booked Tyler Johnathan Rogers Johnsen into Whatcom County Jail Tuesday, Sept. 17, on suspicion of first-degree child rape. Jail records show he was released on $10,000 bail a day later.

Law enforcement was notified of the alleged sexual assault in 2017, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records, after the then 12-year-old girl disclosed to her teacher in Tacoma that she had been sexually abused in 2010 or 2011 while in Bellingham.

The girl was forensically interviewed and said that when she was 4 or 5 and living at a relative’s house in Everett, Johnsen on multiple occasions touched her in a sexual manner on top of and under her clothing while she slept on the couch, court records said.

Later when she lived outside Bellingham, the girl said Johnsen sexually assaulted her, according to court records.

The girl also said Johnsen twice threatened to kill her and her family — once when she was little and again when she was older — if she told anyone about the abuse, court records state, and that was why she waited to tell anyone.

The Whatcom County court documents suggested that charges for first-degree molestation and felony harassment should be considered in Everett.

Johnsen was contacted by police in July 2018 and again on Tuesday, and he both times denied the allegations.

Johnsen is scheduled to be arraigned in Whatcom County Superior Court on Sept. 27.

According to court records, Johnsen previously was convicted of first-degree arson in 2003 in Franklin County while he was a juvenile.

Resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:

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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