Crime

He led a double life. This ex-Tri-City school leader had sex with hundreds of prostitutes

Paul W. Rosier, 76, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for trying to have sex with two teen girls at a Richland hotel. Rosier, pictured here in 2005, was the Kennewick School District Superintendent for 12 years.
Paul W. Rosier, 76, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for trying to have sex with two teen girls at a Richland hotel. Rosier, pictured here in 2005, was the Kennewick School District Superintendent for 12 years. Tri-City Herald

A former Kennewick schools superintendent, busted in 2017 for trying to have sex with two teen girls, led a double life for decades.

Paul W. Rosier, 76, admitted to probation officials that he had sex with hundreds of escorts and prostitutes over the years, and paid tens of thousands of dollars for their services.

He had “fantasies of Lolita experiences,” which probation officers described as being with much younger girls, and a need to make the next sexual liaison better than the last.

That led to the arrangement with two girls, ages 13 and 16, at a Richland hotel. He didn’t know at the time that his $200 was destined for an undercover detective.

On Tuesday, Rosier was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

He pleaded guilty in June in U.S. District Court to attempted child sex trafficking with a victim younger than 18, and has been in the custody of U.S. Marshals since then.

Senior Judge Ed Shea went along with the recommended term from Rosier’s plea agreement. He could not go below the mandatory minimum 10-year term, but had the option of ordering additional time.

Shea said it’s a difficult case because on one hand Rosier made many contributions to the community during his lengthy professional career.

But on the other, he led a double life with his sex addiction, often engaging in reckless behavior and illegal activity by using prostitutes, and at the expense of his current wife and previous wife and his personal finances.

It took considerable planning and deceit to live that secret life, said Shea, who noted that Rosier described himself during an evaluation as being out of control.

“The thing that’s striking is ... it seems clear to this court that you were engaging in the next step and you recognized that you wanted more of a thrill than you were achieving in your liaisons,” said Shea. “It was clear that you were very familiar with the jargon and negotiating those liaisons.”

The nearly 1 1/2-hour hearing in Richland’s U.S. District Court was attended by six supporters for Rosier, including his wife, daughter and son.

Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg, Commander Randy Maynard and Richland’s Interim Chief Jeff Taylor also were in court, along with five detectives from the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children task force.

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Rosier was superintendent of the Kennewick School District for 12 years, leaving in 2006 to work as executive director for the Washington Association of School Administrators. He retired in 2014.

There is no evidence that Rosier has had sex with underage kids over the years, but he admitted to having sex with young women who looked like minors and to frequently texting with grade-school girls.

Carrie Valencia with the U.S. Probation Office in Yakima testified that Rosier was “extremely candid and uniquely open” when talking with her about his background, but she found his admissions alarming.

“For much of his life, much of his career, Mr. Rosier was placed in environments, in school districts that appeared to be of his target range. That was concerning,” Valencia said.

Asked by Shea if there was an explanation for why Rosier now was contacting teen girls for sex, Valencia said he was “constantly looking for the next thing to excite and stimulate.”

Sex with a minor is risky and taboo, and would have met his desires, she said.

Rosier served as the national board chairman for The Children’s Reading Foundation. He was in Richland for a national board meeting of the nonprofit when he made plans to meet with the underage girls at the Hampton Inn on April 1, 2017.

Before traveling to the Tri-Cities from his Olympia home, he spent three days exchanging messages with what he believed was a 16-year-old girl. He offered to give her $40 to set him up with a 13-year-old girl, and planned to pay $160 to the younger girl.

Rosier initially insisted he wanted someone of legal age, then agreed to the encounter, according to court documents. He used specific lingo to indicate what he wanted to do while together.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel Holland said Rosier asked for “a girlfriend experience,” which would have involved sex acts with both girls.

Rosier was arrested in the hotel lobby while on his way to meet the girls in the parking lot.

He then told a detective he was arrested “because I am stupid,” and said it was “just an impulsive thing,” documents said.

Holland argued in court Tuesday that it was not an impulsive thing, but part of Rosier’s ongoing sexual interest in children. His iPad was analyzed and the web browser found to have search terms like “young porn” and “taboo porn young.”

“The reason there is a market for children to engage in paid sex acts is because there are individuals such as (Rosier) who are willing to engage in paid sex acts with them,” Holland said of child sex trafficking.

“Just because you don’t check someone’s identification when you’re engaging in a sexual act with them does not mean that you are not engaging in a sexual act with a minor and that that conduct is legal.”

Defense attorney Scott Johnson said his client’s uncontrolled sex addiction gives context and explanation to why he was “a runaway train” and took advantage of the opportunity to be with two teens.

But he questioned if 10 years is a just sentence for a man who didn’t actually have contact with the girls.

“It is way, way too much,” said Johnson, who told the judge he made numerous attempts with federal prosecutors to resolve the case in other ways. He was able to get the mandatory minimum dropped by five years to 10 years, but Johnson said that wasn’t enough.

“The question becomes, ‘Why is Paul Rosier getting 10 years?’’ he said. “It’s hard to speculate on anyone else’s motive, but I think the reasons here are clear and that’s because the government is bent on that they make a political statement with Mr. Rosier.

“They want him to be a sacrificial lamb. They want him to be a feather in his cap.”

Rosier told the judge he didn’t have anything to say but that he was straightforward and honest when meeting with probation officials for his presentencing report.

Shea read a letter from Rosier’s two adult children, both of whom are lawyers, saying that their dad is a person and the prosecution has made him out to be a monster.

Rosier is an “important and valuable person to our family,” the letter continued. “His rock bottom was a monumental fall from grace. He is ready to begin the next chapter in life.”

With credit for good behavior, Rosier is expected to serve about 8 1/2 years and should be out by age 84.

“If I live that long, your honor, it will be a miracle,” Rosier told Judge Shea.

Shea agreed to recommend a Bureau of Prisons facility in Tucson, Ariz., near Rosier’’s family, and to write a letter informing prison officials they can release Rosier “for compassionate reasons” should he develop a terminal illness during his incarceration.

Rosier will be on lifetime supervision once released and must register as a sex offender.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer
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