Police arrested and charged a Salem woman with several counts of sexual assault against an 11-year-old boy:
Sarah Beth Hopkins faced a judge on Monday, charged with 20 counts of child sex abuse and rape. She allegedly had a sexual relationship with the boy between January of this year and this month.
Hopkins said she was in love and that the boy was her boyfriend, the victim’s mother said. A picture of Hopkins and the boy is on Hopkins’ Facebook page.
The mother of the now 12-year-old victim called the sheriff’s office on Sunday. She was suspicious of her former neighbor and close friend, Sarah Beth Hopkins, and the relationship she had with her son, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Don Thomson.
Hopkins is currently held up a $1 million dollar bail. That seems reasonable given the circumstances. According to the boy’s mother, the victim would visit Hopkins’ home and go on walks with her. The mother eventually became suspicious when she had difficulty contacting them during these visits. She questioned her son, who informed that he and Hopkins had engaged in sexual activity since January. The abuse did not end until Hopkins moved several weeks ago. She then approached the boy’s mother:
“She came to me and just started crying,” the boy’s mother told KATU. “I didn’t know if she was going to expose her heart to God or what. She exposed everything.”
Hopkins also admitted to a sheriff’s deputy that she and the victim had been having sex. Hopkins claimed that she never threatened the victim or gave him anything in return for the sex, according to Thomson.
“She’s a predator. She’s a sex predator. (She) has no control over herself,” the boy’s mother said.
That would explain why the police suspect that there may be more victims:
“We’re kind of asking anyone with a male child who may have had contact with Mrs. Hopkins, befriended by her, lived near her or whatever, we’d like them to sit down with their son and talk. Make sure everything’s okay,” explained Don Thompson with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
What it does not explain is how the boy’s mother could turn a blind eye to the warning signs. She states in the article:
“I’d pick up his phone and there’d be porn on there. I’d pick up her phone and there’d be the same site,” she said. “I’d walk in to her house and they’d be watching porn together.”
That is not just a warning sign, but evidence of terrible judgment and potential abusive behavior. Why would she continue to allow her 11-year-old son to visit with a woman showing him porn?
This is precisely why people should not assume women are not potential pedophiles. Hopkins was bold enough to post pictures with her victim on her Facebook page. She essentially hid in plain sight.
This is not to say that people should suspect every woman or man who spends time with a child. However, when you cannot get into contact with either of them and when you find them watching porn together, there is a problem. This mother should have stepped in earlier, but at least she finally did.
Let us hope that there are no more victims.