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Billionaire Curt Johnson Says He's Not Guilty of Sexual Assault

Pre-trial set for May 20.

Curt Johnson, heir to the SC Johnson Wax fortune, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge in Racine  County Felony Court today.

He also requested a jury trial. The pre-trial is expected to happen May 20.

Johnson was formally charged on March 24, with repeated sexual assault of a child. A judge released him on a $500,000 cash bond and Johnson was ordered to have no contact with the child or any other minor female child. He was also ordered to surender his passport.

At the preliminary hearing, Johnson spoke in a clear, strong voice and was matter-of-fact in his responses to Felony Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz. Johnson said he understood the charges filed against him. Mark Richards, Johnson's attorney, entered a not guilty plea, which Johnson confirmed was what he wanted when Gasiorkiewicz asked him. Richards confirmed that Johnson's passport had been surrendered as a condition of his bond.

Discussion ensued between the defense and prosecution attorneys about the pre-trial hearing, which is set for May 20. And the whole matter lasted about 10 minutes.

Once the hearing was concluded, Richards ushered Johnson out of the courtroom. When asked for a comment, Richards shook his head, waived his hand in the air, and quickened his pace to catch up with Johnson.

Johnson, who lives in Caledonia, is the billionaire son of the late Sam Johnson and is the former head of Sturtevant-based Diversey, Inc. Earlier this year, he took a leave of absence for "personal reasons." Since then, his sister, Helen Johnson-Leopold, has taken the reins of the company. His brother, Fisk Johnson, is head of SC Johnson.

In the criminal complaint, it is alleged that Johnson touched the victim on multiple occasions, exposed himself and asked the girl to have sex with him. The victim refused and also stated that she could not remember the age she was when the abuse began.

Johnson faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

Lawrence May 03, 2011 at 02:34 AM
The unredacted portion of the criminal complaint clearly states she was his step daughter but the press ignores this key fact. Didn't it occur to any reporter covering this story to ask how he got repeated access over a period of years to a young girl?
Heather Asiyanbi May 03, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Lawrence, Because we respect the trauma inflicted by the molestation and wanted to respect what little privacy the girl had left, we did not reveal the identity of the victim. Also, we appreciate the open communication we have with the DA's office and when they requested that we respect the decision to hold parts of the criminal complaint, we did so. Let's not forget, too, that a judge is upholding the decision as well.
T.R. May 03, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Well Heather I think you and the DA did a terrible dis-service then. Anybody who has a sliver of knowlege of who the family members our can connect the dots quite easily. If the DA was concerned so much as to protecting the idenity they would of sealed that part of the complaint as well. They obviously werent You act like you did a favor by not relasing the name of the victim. But it is a Wisconsin "Standard Operating Procedure" not to.
Heather Asiyanbi May 03, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Actually, T.R., we never released the relationship of the victim to Johnson. The DA did release the complete criminal complaint, a mistake they've acknowledged. The information about the victim appeared in other media outlets, not the Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant or Caledonia Patch sites.
kd May 03, 2011 at 05:54 PM
If you read the complaint carefully, He has not admitted guilt...the complaint states the wife said he admitted it to her. These are two completely different things.

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