Minnesota man gym coach in West Virginia charged in Adams County with four crimes of sexual assault with children under 13

Leonard Johnson | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

QUINCY — A West Virginia gym coach facing four counts of predatory felony sexual assault of a child under 13 in Adams County made his first appearance Wednesday in the County Circuit Court. Adams with his attorney, Drew Schnack.

Leonard Johnson, 63, of Rochester, Minnesota, was taken to the Adams County Jail on July 11. His bail was set at $750,000.

Johnson had been charged in Marion County, Mo., Circuit Court with first-degree forensic sodomy with a person under the age of 12, as well as second-degree child molestation.

A probable cause statement from the Hannibal, Mo. Police Department was filed on August 17, 2020 against Johnson in Marion County. Parents of two alleged victims approached Hannibal Police on May 29, 2020 to report Johnson for assault. Johnson “had been staying with them on and off since March due to COVID, and he had taken (two alleged victims) to stay at a hotel on more than one occasion,” the statement said.

One of the alleged victims testified in a forensic interview that she touched and licked Leonard’s penis at night at his family’s residence in Hannibal as they watched movies in the living room.

The statement gave a timeline between March 22, 2020 and May 5, 2020 for potential infractions.

A Nov. 23, 2020, article in the Mountain Messenger, a weekly newspaper in Lewisburg, W.Va., said Johnson was arrested in Fairlea, W.Va., on Nov. 11, 2020, by Greenbrier County officers. Sheriff’s Office and West Virginia State Police after receiving a warrant from Missouri.

Johnson was working for Southern Elite Gymnastics in Lewisburg at the time of his arrest.

He was arraigned in March 2021 in Marion County. The case was transferred to Monroe County in April 2021 following a request for a change of venue by Johnson’s attorney, Fredrich Cruse.

Johnson was charged in December 2020 for his Adams County offenses, which allegedly occurred on May 19, 2020.

“(Johnson) has been charged here and in Marion County for similar incidents, but some happened (in Quincy) and some in Missouri,” said Adams County Assistant District Attorney Laura Keck. “The case in Missouri was processed first because he was there, and we couldn’t actually get him across state lines until their case was completed.”

The Monroe County case was dismissed earlier this month. Keck said Johnson waived the extradition and was immediately brought to Adams County.

A charging document filed in Adams County says Johnson is charged with placing his penis in the mouth and touching a child’s mouth with his penis and causing two to touch his penis. other children for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Criminal predatory sexual assault of a child is a Class X felony in Illinois. The sentencing range is between six and 60 years.

Johnson also faces a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a class 2 felony, and a charge of sexual exploitation of a child, a class 4 felony. He is charged with touching the naked back of a child for the purpose of sexual arousal, as well as engaging in the act of sexual penetration of a child in the presence of another child under the age of 13.

Neither Keck nor Marion County District Attorney Luke Bryant say they have information that Johnson worked for a local gym team in Adams County or Marion County at the time of his crimes.

A status hearing was scheduled for August 9.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Marion County District Attorney Luke Bryant provided Muddy River News with a redacted version of the probable cause statement in the Hannibal Police Department’s Leonard Johnson case. Due to a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court, Bryant asked Muddy River News to print the following disclaimer:

“All individuals are innocent until proven guilty in court.”

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