Small Town News


Former USD 343 employee arrested

The Oskaloosa Independent of Oskaloosa, Kansas

- Advertisement -

A Lawrence man who once worked for Perry-Lecompton USD 343 was arrested by the Perry Police Department the evening of Oct. 28 on suspicion of promoting obscenity to minors.

The official website of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office identified the man as 57-year-old Michael Johnson. He was booked into the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Center at 9:10 p.m. the day of his arrest and remained in custody, held without bond, until 12:19 a.m. the following day (last Thursday).

According to the website, Johnson was charged with "promote obscenity to minors, 2nd or subsequent (offense)," which suggests that he was arrested for and possibly convicted of this crime on a previous occasion. When asked about the charge Friday afternoon, Sheriff Jeff Herrig told the paper that the wording used to describe the charge may well have had something to do with the fact that the defendant is actually charged with three counts of promoting obscenities to minors, but that he could not say so for sure.

The question would seem to be important, as the crimes Johnson is accused of committing occurred during the period when he was an employee of USD 343 and reportedly involved at least some students. In response to a request for information, Superintendent Dr. Denis Yoder told the paper last Thursday afternoon that the district utilizes the services of All Background Checks, a Topeka-based company, to conduct background checks on all newly-hired employees and that that included Johnson.

According to Yoder, Johnson was hired by the district in April of 2012 and was a classified employee, serving as the vocal music accompanist at Perry-Lecompton High School and Middle School. He said Johnson was suspended from his duties Sept. 21 and that his contract was terminated Oct. 12.

As of late Monday morning, possible formal charges against Johnson had not been made public by the office of County Attorney Jason Belveal. But Johnson did have a scheduled court date, it being Monday, Dec. 7, at 9 a.m.

Herrig said promoting obscenities to a minor is a misdemeanor.

Topeka television station KSNT has reported that USD 343 first became aware of possible inappropriate behavior involving Johnson on Sept. 21 and conducted an internal investigation at that time. As a result of the probe, Johnson was placed on suspension and barred from the two secondary schools, which share the same campus.

According to the station's report, the information USD 343 gathered during the course of its brief investigation was subsequently turned over to both the PPD and the JCSO for further investigation. On Sept. 24, those agencies shared their findings with Belveal's office.

Copyright 2015 The Oskaloosa Independent, Oskaloosa, Kansas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

More from The Oskaloosa Independent