Roughly a week after her husband was charged with 28 felony crimes for allegedly sexually abusing and molesting her pre-teen and teenage daughter, a Seymour woman was charged with two felonies — one count of endangering the welfare of a child (a Class D felony) and one count of witness tampering (also a Class D felony) — on Monday by Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser.
Charged was Heather D. Rippee, 40, who is the wife of 59-year-old Terry Lynn Rippee, also of Seymour.
Berkstresser’s office submitted the charges against Heather Rippee last Thursday afternoon. Official charges were filed and a warrant was issued Monday.
As of Monday, Terry Rippee remained held on a bond of $1,000,000 at the Webster County Jail in Marshfield, where he faces charges for the aforementioned 28 felony counts.
According to the felony complaint filed Thursday by the prosecutor’s office, Heather Rippee’s charge for tampering with a witness or victim stems from alleged acts between Nov. 28, 2018, and Nov. 28, 2020, when she told her daughter “not to report being a victim of a crime because reporting would cause defendant’s children to be taken into state custody and that defendant would be arrested.”
In the endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree count, Berkstresser’s office said that on or between Nov. 28, 2019, and Nov. 28, 2020, Heather Rippee “knowingly acted in a manner that created a substantial risk to the body and health of (her daughter), a child less than 17 years old, by allowing Terry Rippee to continue to reside in her residence with (her oldest daughter and her other children) after having knowledge that he had perpetrated sexual crimes on (her oldest daughter, who was between the ages of 12-1/2 and 14 when the alleged sexual crimes occurred).”
Although not yet charged at the time, Heather Rippee was arrested by deputies from the Webster County Sheriff’s Department on June 24 for “failing to protect her child” after she had been told that Terry Rippee, her husband and stepfather of her children, had touched and raped her oldest daughter.
She was interviewed at the sheriff’s department office in Marshfield by Capt. Rick Hamilton, a longtime detective for the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.
“Heather was asked about the (current) relationship her 13-year-old daughter had with a 19-year-old boy, Jon Link,” Webster County Deputy Shane Forrest wrote in his probable-cause statement on June 25. “Heather said she did know her daughter was dating Jon, and she allowed Jon to move into her house and stay in the same bed with (her daughter, who was only 13 years old).”
During the June 24 interview, Heather Rippee said she had been told by her oldest daughter about Terry Rippee touching and raping her.
“Heather said she did confront Terry about the allegations, and he admitted to her he had done it,” Forrest’s report said.
“Heather did kick Terry out of the residence but allowed him to move back in after two or three days. Heather said he told her he was sorry. Heather said Terry told her if she reported it, he would deny all of it, and she would be arrested for allowing him to be around her kids.”
At the time of the alleged crimes, Terry and Heather Rippee were residing at 87 Elderberry Road, located southwest of Seymour.
As of the Citizen’s press deadline late Monday afternoon, Heather Rippee hadn’t yet been arrested; however, her bond was set at $25,000, Berkstresser said, noting that the bond including “a bunch of conditions.”