On Friday May 2, 77-year-old Carlton Lindbergh Johnson, a longtime pastor of a church in Muskegon, was found guilty on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree CSC in connection with the rapes and inappropriate touching of three female relatives when they were young, according to a news article at Mlive.com. News reports indicate the jury reached a verdict in under an hour.
The victims were allegedly sexually assaulted over a period of years, one of the victims when she was younger than 13, and two when they were between the ages of 13 and 15. The crimes occurred for a number of years up until 2012 when one of the victims came forward and a police investigation began. However, several women who testified in court claimed that Johnson had raped young female family members for decades before the conduct with the most recent victims came to light.
Johnson, who used the title of bishop at the Faith Congregational Church of God in Christ where he was pastor, allegedly sexually assaulted the victims both in his office at the church, and in the basement at his residence.
Johnson claimed that the allegations against him were false, and that the accusations against him arose due to a “terribly dysfunctional family” and tension within the church and family. He is scheduled for sentencing before Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks on June 2.
Michigan sex crime defense attorneys know that rape is a very serious accusation. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious sex offense an individual can be found guilty of, and leaves the defendant facing up to life in prison. While it is a fact that there are many child predators who do engage in criminal behavior with children, it is also not uncommon for children to make up stories that are not true, often coerced by adults to do so. This is why it is critical for any individual accused of rape or any sex offense to consult with a highly skilled and aggressive defense lawyer. You must have an attorney who will go to great lengths to get to the truth of the matter. Otherwise, you may face severe criminal penalties which can impact the rest of your life.
If you have been arrested for child molestation, rape, or any related offense, do not wait. Contact a capable and dedicated Michigan sex crime defense lawyer at once.