A 56-year-old Pinehurst man, Mark Johnson, has pleaded guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and accepted a plea agreement to a life sentence in prison. Judge Paul Damico, sitting for Judge Kathleen Hamilton of the 359th District Court in Montgomery County, presided over the plea agreement on Sept. 17, 2019.
Johnson was arrested on July 9, 2019, on charges involving the sexual abuse of two children. In exchange for his plea agreement, one charge of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child was dismissed. Johnson will spend the next 30 years of his life in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Two children, ages 9 and 10, made an outcry that Johnson had been sexually abusing them over the course of several years. The case was investigated by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Buckner and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Wesley LeRouax. Buckner and LeRouax are assigned to the Special Victims Unit located at Conroe’s child advocacy center, Children’s Safe Harbor, a non-profit organization that provides a single location to house the various agencies involved in the investigation of child sexual or physical abuse. This “multi-disciplinary team” consists of forensic interviewers, medical personnel, counselors, CPS, law enforcement, and prosecutors.
The children were interviewed at Children’s Safe Harbor, and Detective Buckner quickly executed several search warrants in response to the children’s outcries. With the assistance of Crime Scene Analyst Tim Slusher, investigators were able to find substantial digital evidence of Johnson’s crimes on several electronic devices seized during the warrants. The images recovered revealed that Johnson photographed his sexual acts with the victims at his residence and even a public park.
“The fact that Johnson was willing to accept a plea to Life in prison is a perfect example of how hard work by law enforcement pays off. It shows how the multi-disciplinary team and Special Victims Unit work together to make our community safe from child molesters like Johnson. We will continue to aggressively prosecute anyone who abuses the children of Montgomery County,” said Assistant District Attorney Wesley LeRouax.