Mayor of Washington, Iowa Charged with Felony Sex Abuse
The mayor of Washington, Iowa turned himself in to Washington County Law Enforcement this afternoon after being charged with felony sex abuse.
According to a criminal complaint, an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent interviewed a 27-year-old male on Wednesday, January 11. The interview followed a report the unnamed man gave to an officer with the Washington Police Department earlier in the day.
The alleged victim reported that Jaron Rosien, who is the mayor of Washington, approached him about playing a bar game at J.P.'s 207 in Washington, near closing time on Sunday morning, January 8. The man alleges he was the victim of unwanted and inappropriate touching from Rosien.
The following day, on Thursday, January 12, a State of Iowa search warrant was executed on surveillance footage at J.P.'s 207, which is a restaurant, bar, and live music venue owned by Rosien. The criminal complaint against Rosien states that the surveillance shows that "at approximately 1:39 a.m., appears to show an individual believed to be Rosien near an individual believed to be (the victim)." It goes on to say the surveillance footage appears to show multiple instances of sexual contact between Rosien and the alleged victim.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agents also interviewed Rosien on January 12. He confirmed he was in J.P.'s 207 on the night of January 7/8 and "admitted to behaving flirtatiously with an individual matching the physical description of (the alleged victim)." Rosien did not admit or deny inappropriate contact. The complaint says he "rather stated, due to his own level of intoxication, (he) could not recall."
Jaron Rosien, 38, has been charged with Third Degree Sexual Abuse, a Class C felony. He was sworn in as mayor of Washington in 2018 and made an unsuccessful run for the Iowa House of Representatives in June of 2022, losing the Republican primary. He has owned J.P.'s 207 in Washington since 2012.
A statement from Rosien released late this afternoon states, "I take these allegations very seriously. 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.”