A Kanawha County woman on Monday pleaded guilty to three charges related to the molestation of her 1-year-old granddaughter in 2015.
Roseanna Elaine Thompson, 47, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in position of trust. She will serve between 30 and 60 years in prison, with each charge carrying a 10- to 20-year prison sentence in West Virginia.
Thompson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 8.
Thompson, appearing via video Monday from the South Central Regional Jail before Kanawha Circuit Judge Tera Salango, admitted to being present during her then-fiancé’s molestation of Thompson’s infant granddaughter in their South Charleston home.
Thompson and the man, Richard Smith II, 41, recorded multiple videos of the two repeatedly sexually assaulting and abusing the infant around Feb. 19, 2015, according to a criminal complaint.
The couple later separated and Smith remarried, but it wasn’t until May 2018 when Smith’s now ex-wife found the videos while cleaning out their home. She turned the videos over to police, and Smith and Thompson were later arrested.
Those tapes were shown to a jury in January during Smith’s criminal trial. Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Debra Rusnak said Monday the videos clearly show Thompson did much more than just be present at the time — she was an active participant in the abuse.
In one video shown to the jury, Thompson is seen holding down her granddaughter’s legs while Smith sexually abused her.
Salango sentenced Smith to up to 775 years in prison March 4, saying he was “one of the most evil persons who I’ve ever encountered.”
The jury in Smith’s case deliberated less than 30 minutes before finding him guilty on all 20 counts — 11 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of sexual assault and five counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in position of trust.
“If there’s any doubt to what actually happened to this child ... all you have to do is press play on the video that [Smith] made,” assistant prosecutor Adam Petry said during the January hearing.
Thompson faced the same 20 charges as Smith before pleading guilty to the three charges Monday. If she survives beyond her prison sentence, Thompson must register as a sex offender for the rest of her life and will be on extended supervision for 50 years.