Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington mayor charged with sexual abuse
Rosien turned himself in Tuesday afternoon
WASHINGTON — The state of Iowa filed charges against Washington Mayor Jaron Rosien Tuesday afternoon, accusing him of third degree sexual abuse, according to court documents.
A criminal complaint filed in the case Jan. 24 said the incident took place between Rosien and a 27-year-old active service member, referred to in the record as “AB,” at Rosien’s bar, J.P.’s 207, the night of Jan. 7 and early morning of Jan. 8.
“AB stated at one point while he and Rosien were playing (pool in) the bar, Rosien began loudly and repeatedly making crude comments about men’s genitalia,” the complaint said. “As Rosien was making this comment over and over, he … began sliding his right hand up AB’s right inner thigh (and) grabbing AB’s penis from outside AB’s pants.”
The report said AB did not consent to the contact, and that Rosien told investigators in a Jan. 12 interview that he had been at J.P.’s the night of the incident, and “admitted to behaving flirtatiously with an individual matching the physical description of AB.” However, “Rosien neither admitted to nor denied inappropriately touching AB, but rather stated, due to his own level of intoxication, could not recall.”
According to the affidavit, security camera footage from the bar around 1:40 a.m. on Jan. 8, “appears to show an individual believed to be Rosien near an individual believed to be AB.”
A news release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety said Rosien turned himself in to Washington County Law Enforcement Authorities on Jan. 24.
“The investigation into this matter was conducted by Agents within the Major Crime Unit of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; assisted by the Office of the Washington County Attorney and the Office of the Iowa Attorney General — Area Prosecutions Division,” the news release said.
Rosien has served as the mayor of Washington since 2018, but served as a council member from 2014-2018. In a statement Tuesday night, he said he’d step away from his duties in office for the moment, but did not plan to resign.
“I take these allegations very seriously,” he said. “I also take this job, its duties, and those that rely on me to complete them, very seriously. For this reason I will respectfully step back from the formal role in order to focus on what is required. During this time I think of and wish to thank my family, friends, and community for their support.”
Mayor Pro Tem Millie Youngquist said she would lead city council meetings in the meantime, with municipal budget season fast-approaching.
“We are starting the budgeting procedure, but a lot of the work has been done by the city administrator and different department heads,” she said. “I haven’t led many meetings, but I’m confident with everyone’s assistance that we can make it through ... having been on council for like, six or seven years, I kind of know how things go and procedures, and what we need to get done in the next few weeks.”
Rosien’s bail was set at $10,000, cash only, according to court documents. The charge is a Class C felony.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation, but Washington County Attorney John Gish filed a motion to appoint a state prosecutor due to his office’s potential conflict with the local government official. While that motion was withdrawn soon after for technical reasons, Gish said it was still, “in the best interests of justice that a disinterested party like the Attorney General’s Office,” handle the prosecution process.
Jaron Rosien is co-host of Washington Live!, which is a product of the Southeast Iowa Union.