August 4, 2011 in City

Man charged with rape of 2 workers

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The operator of a beauty shop in the NorthTown Mall in Spokane is in jail on rape charges involving two of his employees.

Thomas C. Rohn, 37, is accused of sexually assaulting the 18- and 19-year-old women on separate occasions at his Airway Heights apartment.

Rohn operates the business with his roommate, Kirk Willis, who said Wednesday that he doesn’t know what happened but added that he doesn’t condone the alleged acts.

Willis is the sole owner of the store, which received its city business license in June under the name Organic Spa.

The shop remains open, Willis said, and the alleged victims remain employed. Police said they don’t believe Willis was involved in the alleged assaults but said they fear Rohn may have more victims.

“Luckily he is in custody, but the investigation is still in its infancy,” said Kelly Justice, a detective with the Airway Heights Police Department.

Rohn is in Spokane County Jail. Public defender John Whaley said Wednesday at Rohn’s first appearance in Superior Court that the suspect insists he’s innocent.

“He certainly feels that these are outrageous allegations that are being made,” Whaley said.

Rohn’s bond was set at $260,000 on three counts each of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

Police found plane tickets to and from several states while searching Rohn’s apartment, including California, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska, Deputy Prosecutor Eugene Cruz said.

They also recovered marijuana, massage oil, bed sheets and clothing, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday to search the apartment at 12821 W. 19th Ave. in Airway Heights.

Police started investigating Rohn after one of the women went to Holy Family Hospital Sunday night and said she’d been raped in Airway Heights. The woman said she’d worked at the kiosk for about two weeks. Rohn asked her for a ride to his apartment because he didn’t feel well, invited her inside, locked the door, then ordered her into a bedroom, according to court documents. He removed the woman’s clothes, tied a rag around her eyes and sexually assaulted her as she wept, documents allege. She told police Rohn made her say “I deserve my punishment” several times.

Detectives learned of the other alleged victim when contacting Rohn’s acquaintances. The woman said Rohn raped her twice at his apartment on Thursday and Friday and said he told her “that if she was going to work for him she needed to learn how to pleasure both a man and a woman,” according to court documents.

According to online court records, Rohn was arrested on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor in Alaska in 1994, but the charges were dismissed.

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