SALEM, Ore. - A 35-year-old Salem woman was arrested Sunday on rape and sex abuse charges after she had sex with an 11-year-old boy over an eight-month period, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.
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.
She only learned of the sexual relationship a few days ago at a church revival.
"She questioned her son and learned that he and Hopkins had been sexually active for the past eight months," Thomson said in a news release.
The boy would often go to Hopkins' apartment and go on walks with Hopkins. The two had sex at the apartment and occasionally in public places during the walks, Thomson said.
The mother said she didn't grow suspicious until the walks grew longer and neither of them could be reached.
The relationship ended about two weeks ago when Hopkins moved out of the apartment complex.
"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.
KATU is concealing the woman's identity to protect her son. She said she spoke with her son and told him that he was not at fault for anything that happened.
The boy's mother said there were warning signs of what was happening.
"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."
KATU reached out to Hopkins' aunt, who lives on the Oregon coast. She was shocked to hear about the arrest, and said Hopkins "is a very good person."
Deputies said Monday that while there is the possibility of more victims, none have come forward in the last 24 hours.
Hopkins was ordered to be held on $1 million bail and is due back in court later this month.