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Nurse who admitted tying up her disabled patient likely to escape jail time under plea deal

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SEATTLE — A nurse who admitted to tying up a severely disabled man will be sentenced Friday, but a plea deal means she will likely escape jail time.

That has the parents of 23-year-old Matthew Schwed upset.

The nurse, Robin Johnson, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted unlawful imprisonment, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

Seattle police say Robin Johnson admitted to tying up Matthew while she was his in-home nurse.

Schwed requires constant care and is unable to speak. His parents, Doug and Mary Schwed, allowed Johnson to take their son to her home during the day. She worked for the family for over a year and a half.

“I am absolutely sick to the bottom of my soul over this whole thing,” said Mary Schwed.

Pictures show Matthew tied up with rope in a chair. When questioned by police, investigators say Johnson admitted to leaving him alone.

“It just breaks our heart that he went through this and we didn’t know and he wasn’t able to tell us,” said Doug Schwed.

Originally, Johnson faced a charge of unlawful imprisonment, but the charge was later reduced. In court documents, Johnson admits to tying up Matthew. Johnson told prosecutors she was a domestic violence victim and was forced by that family member to restrain Matthew. The family member handed over the pictures to police after his arrest.

In a statement, her attorney, Robert Flennaugh, said: “Ms. Johnson is extremely sorry and feels awful about what she did to Mr. Schwed. She sincerely asks the Schwed family for forgiveness. Since this incident, she has entered and started receiving the domestic violence victim counseling that she so badly needed.”

For her guilty plea to attempted unlawful imprisonment, prosecutors are recommending a suspended sentence, probation, and community service.

"From a societal standpoint, I just think that's outrageous," said Doug Schwed.

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17 comments

  • Hilary

    Was she forced to take him to her house? No. She chose to do that knowing the situation. She’s got you fooled. The precedent that your thinking creates is dangerous. Should we all be allowed to do something, blame someone else, and not be punished?

    • Jen

      She is a close friend of mine and I saw her with bruises on her from her husband. This story was completely one-sided. If she really was such a monster, her employer who is well aware of this would not have her there. Think about it. There is far more than this story tells.

  • Jen

    As one who is very close to this story, I can tell you that reporting like this is why people do not trust the media. Never once did it mention that her husband was recently convicted of domestic abuse against her and that she feared for her life and that of her children. Stories covered in this very skewed one-sided way only contribute to those who are in horrible situations being stuck there. This mother was aware that Robin was being abused and saw marks on her body, and yet she allowed her son to go home with his nurse. Things that make you go hmmmm -Or at least should make you question. Shame on you fox news for perpetuating innacurate stories.

    • Mary S

      So, you reply under the Facebook page by Jennifer Giles Trujillo but here just under Jen. Okay, Jen, let me tell you AGAIN, Robin was NEVER ALLOWED to take Matthew to her home!! Our understanding is that she was taking him out in the community to parks, libraries, malls,etc. she LIED every step of the way as to what she was doing with him. She would bring him home soaking wet and saying that he had urinayed on himself when she had actually left him outside in the weather. She left him tied up and alone knowing that he could not defend himselfmmagain SHAME ON YOU for defending someone who referred to him as ” human garbage”.

  • sheila

    She is in the wrong line of work. She has gone from victim to abuser without any type of counseling to help her deal with the abuse she suffered. Has anyone ever investigated her allegations of being a victim of abuse? Sounds like a load of crap and an excuse to keep from being prosecuted for her hideous actions!

  • Mary

    If home was such a horrible place to be she should have NEVER taken this man to her home. This happened on multiple occasions, not just once and court records say that she would leave the house for multiple hours at a time. Even is she was being abused, as a nurse she has an obligation to protect this man from harm and instead she brought him into an unsafe environment. Maybe her current place of employment can’t do anything about her current position until she was tried and found guilty and sentenced? Most people can’t fire you until you have been proven guilty, especially in hospitals that have unions protecting employees jobs. It’s sad for the family involved and horrific that she would use her own abuse to justify abusing another. And get away with it none the less.

  • Ms.

    The family of this boy has every right to be hurt and disappointed. However, speaking from a similar situation… My husband and i got married, had a beautiful wedding fulk of smiles and laughs. The next thing I know my husband is not only threatening me verbally but he started throwing things at me and didnt even bat an eye when the things he threw hit me. When he would get mad he would grab one of my children and literally throw them. if i tried to stop him, he would make sure i bled for it. The first time i tried to stop him he grabbed me by my hair and drug me up the stairs to our room where he proceeded to slam me against the dresser, tell me that if i ever so much to even think about stopping him again he would slit my throat and make my children drink my blood with their dinner. So u tried to get help but i didnt have a vehicle to get anywhere and i wasnt allowed to leave the block.. i started getting to know a neighbor that was always outside and we quickly became friends. The day i got up the courage to ask if my new friend could come over for dinner turned out to be the most horrendous day of my life. He seemed like he was in an unusually good mood and when my friend came in the door he proceeded to grab her shoulders and throw her down into our glass coffee table. My friend was now covered in blood and glass and was crying hysterically. Her cries must have made him more mad because he got the roll of metal tie wire and locked our children in our bathroom telling me once my new friend was secured to the bed and was “good and fucked” i might be able to see my children. As long as i was his “good little bitch” and i did as i was told, he wouldnt hurt my babies. I was scared for my kids lives and my own My.own husband made me so do unimaginably terrible things to that lady. I will never forget thd grin on his face as he watched me and barked demands. My husband forced me to put a baseball bat up my neighbor’s bleeding anus to save my children and myself. He got off to it and i still to this day wake up crying because i can still he the look on my neighbors face and i still feel terrible for inviting her to dinner. Would you Mr. Schwed and/or Mrs. Schwed rather your child(ren) die than hurt a new found friend like i did? I did my research before taking the side of the caretaker in this case and there have been multiple police reports of domestic violence at the Johnson residence and there is a statement from Mr. Johnson where he did admits choking her so hard that her voice was raspy. I think that the family have every right to be upset about your sons abuse, but you should be upset with Mr.Johnson, he is the one with the prior violent charges and he was clearly the one yielding the camera. Give this girl some credit, most women dont even make it out of an abusive relationship alive. I think you are attacking the wrong person, i think Mr Johnson should be held responsible for his actions.

  • John Nap

    But when a person with a disability defends themselves or commits a crime like this nurse did, they incarcerate them immediately, the are publicly verbally bashed with insults, and the courts convicts them, locks them up, and throw the keys away. They should do the same for the nurse. That poor boy did not deserve that at all. The nurse knows right from wrong and using an excuse that she was abused as a child is no excuse. Where is the JUSTICE!!!

  • John B

    Hahahaha. Jen talked this Robin Johnson into walking out of her first marriage. Mrs. Johnson did the same thing with her kids from a previous marriage, leaving them home alone. Not the first time people. Not the first time.

  • Angela

    If Robin was so scared and abused then why did she leave her husband Ryan in charge of raising their 2 sons while they lived in Virginia and in Seattle while she plotted to leave just as she did when she cheated on her first husband with Ryan, leaving her other 3 children from first marriage home alone as well. Poor, poor Robin, too scared to leave her husband but no problem leaving her children alone! A good mother ALWAYS puts her children first!