Curt Johnson Child Sex Assault Trial on Hold for Supreme Court Decision
Proceedings in the case should wait until after the State Supreme Court decides whether or not it will hear an appeal the prosecution has requested, Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz said during a status hearing Friday.
The child sex assault case against Racine billionaire Curt Johnson will stay on hold until the state Supreme Court makes a decision about hearing arguments about an appeals court ruling.
The state Attorney General, on behalf of the proscecution, filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals agreed with Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz's ruling last fall that the alleged victim in the case can uphold her claim to privacy and not turn over her medical records. The appellate court in that same decision also said, though, that the girl will not be allowed to testify as a sort of sanction for not releasing her records.
In court Friday, Gasiorkiewicz said he agrees with a motion filed by the prosecution to hold off proceedings here until the high court decides whether or not to review the petition as filed by the AG's office.
"We can't proceed with anything substantive until the Supreme Court makes a determination on hearing the case or not," he said.
The high court will meet next Tuesday for its last determination session before being recessed in July and August. It is unclear if the justices will discuss the Johnson case at that time.
Gasiorkiewicz said it is his understanding that the Court continues to review cases and talk by phone through the summer. To keep track of how the review is proceeding, he is scheduling telephone status hearings monthly; the first of which will be June 15 followed by another one in late July and again in August if there is still no determination.
The case against Johnson was to have gone to trial April 23, but Gasiorkiewicz granted the state's request for a continuance because of trouble securing witnesses. Later that same day, the Court of Appeals issued a stay
Johnson was charged on March 24, 2011 with first degree sexual assault of the same child for having inappropriate contact with a young girl several times over a number of years. Since then, he pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bail.
One of the billionaire heirs of the SC Johnson family, Johnson ran Diversey, Inc. until Feb. 2010. At that time, he stepped down citing personal problems, and his sister, Helen Johnson-Leopold took the reins. If convicted, Johnson faces up to 40 years in prison.