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Curt Johnson Child Sex Assault Trial Delayed

Issues related to ongoing appeals, witnesses and other logistics have kept the child sex assault trial of Curt Johnson from going forward as scheduled.

The child sex assault trial of Curt Johnson is off this week, after a judge granted the state’s request for a delay, and the court of appeals ordered a halt to proceedings. 

Johnson stands accused of repeated sexual assault of the same child, for allegedly abusing a girl over a period of several years. The trial was due to begin Monday morning, but Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz granted the  

Later in the day, the court learned of a second reason to hold off: The Court of Appeals granted the prosecution's request for a stay of the local proceedings. 

Johnson was  with first degree sexual assault of the same child. 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.

Witness difficulties

The delay granted Monday morning, stemmed from the state's request for an adjournment after it was unable to procure a key witness—the Arizona therapist who reportedly heard Johnson's alleged admission that he sexually abused the girl.

Gasiorkiewicz scolded the prosection for not exercising good judgment in attempts to get the witness here, but said he would grant the delay because this has been the first and only request made so far. He also said the delay would not put undue burden or stress on Johnson because he is not in jail. 

According to an Arizona state statute read into the record by the judge, the person who filed the mandatory report of possible abuse does not have to include the name of the person to whom the alleged admission was made. Thus, the Dr. Withrow named in the referral that the Racine County Sheriff's office received is not necessarily the right therapist to subpoena. A Maricopa (AZ) judge is set to review Johnson's records from the clinic, which could help resolve the issue.

With no way to know if Johnson's records will even reveal the therapist who actually heard the supposed admission, Gasiorkiewicz gave the state some time to try and figure it out. that the alleged statements would be admissible if the state could produce the person to whom they were made.

Gasiorkiewicz said the state was “negligent” in how it has handled this part of the case.

“We don’t know if the records in Arizona will reveal the name of the person to get these alleged statements in," he said.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak said he expected contact the District Attorney in Maricopa County on Monday for a status update.

"It's beyond my jurisdictional powers so I'm relying on other agencies to assist," he said after the hearing concluded.

Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete concurred.

"We will continue to follow up to secure witnesses," he said. "Our goal is that we want justice for this child victim of sexual assault."

Court of Appeals

On Monday morning, Gasiorkiewicz said a stay request filed that day with the Court of Appeals had no bearing on his decision. At the time, he did not know whether the Appeals Court would grant the stay or not.

By the end of the day, the Court of Appeals had ruled on it, putting a stop to local proceedings until at least May 18. That is the day the state’s time runs out to decide whether it wants to ask the State Supreme Court to weigh in on the   

Chiapete said his office is coordinating with the Attorney General to move for the Supreme Court to review the court of appeals' decision.

A June 8 status conference is scheduled in front of Gasiorkiewicz.

Mary Baker April 23, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Think about how ironic it is who is footing the bill for his wife and step daughter's lawyers...the same guy who is charged with molesting the step daughter.
Snoopy April 24, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This really is sad. The way the court systems seem to drag things on. Yes, there are rules and procedures to follow, but the wasted time, money and manipulation is what is just another cause for people to revolt. Money trails need to be researched here...historically and medically it's a given that this is not the only incident in this man's history especially with all the yield signs that are being put up around him. Lots of protection for him, what about others? I'd say he's got nothing on Woody Allen..at least there was no DNA/blood connection to Woody's younger advances. Here we have the weird advances not just on a younger person, but someone that obviously sets off desires with a connection to your family. But again, I'm more concerned that this is not the only case for him, and that his own family is in denial because they worry more about themselves than the children this is affecting. Odds are, not his own but others have had issues too...again, check the stats on this type of behavior. Blogging about forgiveness is peachy, but not even sure if you're also not supposed to protect. Which one has the higher calling? I definitely would never, ever leave my children around a husband like this and how could I even do that to my friends' or other family members children either? He obviously sought help...which means he knew he was doing wrong OR he was attempting to make a "I'm trying, so don't slam the door" ...that alone would always have me wide eyed.
Michelle April 26, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Isn't he supposed to be born again or something.. His wife says he is a recovering alcoholic and addict :(
Mom May 18, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I have read he visits the wife and child in the new home in the new state. Now that is one sick mother.

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