Samuel Curtis Johnson III, 59, is the heir to the SC Johnson company. He was charged in 2011 with felony sexual assault of a minor, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
The charges were reduced after the girl refused to release her medical records. Johnson’s attorney insisted that the records be released to see if the girl had reported the abuse to her therapist. The court said she could not testify against her stepfather if she didn’t release the records. Both she and her mother refused.
The prosecution said their case fell apart when they lost her testimony.
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Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct. He will serve at least 60 days of his sentenced and pay a fine of up to $6,000.
He will not have to register as a sex offender, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Circuit Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz said he was “troubled” that state prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence of nine months for Johnson, a first-time offender, and imposed the term the defense suggested.
Johnson’s stepdaughter originally told police her stepfather was a “sex addict” who touched her inappropriately 15 to 20 times a day between the ages of 12 and 15. She told her mother in order to protect her younger sister. Johnson allegedly confessed when confronted by his wife.
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“Refusal to cooperate” is a common allegation that lets rapists walk free, according to ThinkProgress. Traumatized victims are forced to navigate complicated legal procedures.
“Johnson is the latest symbol of how the justice system works differently for the super-rich,” wrote ThinkProgress’ Aviva Shen.