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

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.