Friday, April 7, 2006

Sheriff completes inquiry into Johnson rape charges

Authorities not releasing details about report

Express Staff Writer

An investigation has been completed into allegations by convicted Bellevue murderer Sarah Johnson that she was raped by a jail trustee while being held in the Blaine County Jail.

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas and Sheriff Walt Femling have received the investigative report, but declined this week to release any details. A press conference on the matter is tentatively scheduled for Monday.

Johnson alleged she was raped by a jail trustee while she was awaiting trial at the county jail in Hailey. She was convicted last year of killing her parents, Alan and Diane Johnson, in their Bellevue home in 2003.

An investigation was initiated last summer by the Tri-County Sheriff's Association, an eastern Idaho law enforcement cooperative, at the request of the Blaine County Sheriff's Office.

Johnson is currently serving two life terms in the Pocatello Women's Correction Center.

The Blaine County Jail also is being investigated by the Idaho Attorney General's Office regarding allegations by former jail inmate Gretchen Biddle, who alleged sexual abuse while incarcerated. Former jailer Michael Alan Lance, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in Hailey in August, was being investigated regarding Biddle's allegations.

Authorities previously reported they believed Lance's death was a suicide.

Bob Cooper, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, told the Idaho Mountain Express Wednesday that the incident is still under investigation and no further information can be released at this time.

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