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Wife also facing charges in Jackson County sex abuse case

Janine Michelle Lawson

RAVENSWOOD — As reported earlier this week, John Lawson was recently arrested for sexual abuse by a parent; this week, his wife also was arrested and is facing the same charge.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Jackson County Magistrate Court, Janine Michelle Lawson, 43, 814 Cypress St., Ravenswood, is facing that charge due to the allowance of abuse happening upon the child.

John admitted to having sexual intercourse with a female family member who is a minor, the complaint said.

The victim said the abuse first happened when she was 12 years old, the complaint said. The first time it happened, Janine was not home at the time and the victim woke up in John’s room, the complaint said.

She said he had carried her in the room while she was sleeping and when she woke up, he was sexually assaulting her, the complaint said.

John Lawson

This became a routine as John would come into her room every morning after Janine went to work, the complaint said.

For the past five years, the abuse took place as often as four times a week and occurred as recently as two weeks ago, the complaint said.

A friend of the victim told Janine what was going on, the complaint said.

During the investigation, law enforcement came across a cell phone where they found evidence of John sending messages to the victim and saw John talking about selling and purchasing drugs and offering marijuana to the victim, the complaint said.

“The drug conversations lead a reasonable person to believe that Janine was involved with picking up the drugs and was aware of Lawsons’ drug use,” the complaint said.

Law enforcement had reason to believe Janine had known about the abuse when they executed a search warrant on Monday, the complaint said.

After agreeing to speak with law enforcement, Janine admitted to knowing about the abuse, the complaint said.

Janine claimed she didn’t speak up because John had threatened to kill her and her children, the complaint said.

She said she also didn’t report the drug abuse because she was afraid John would have someone kill her, the complaint said.

Janine admitted to receiving the victim’s prescription medication with the intent of John selling the drugs, the complaint said.

Janine is being charged with sexual abuse by parent and gross child neglect creating a risk of injury. She is being held at South Central Regional Jail on a $175,000 surety bond.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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