Home News Local News Roswell man pleads not guilty in sexual assault case

Roswell man pleads not guilty in sexual assault case

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A Roswell business owner on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted an underaged female employee.

Taina Colon, deputy district attorney for New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District, confirmed that 43-year-old Steven Paul Johnson entered a formal plea of not guilty to one count each of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree, child age 13-18; criminal sexual contact of a minor, second degree, person in position of authority; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, when he appeared at his arraignment at the Chaves County Courthouse Monday.

Doug Jones Witt, Johnson’s attorney, did not return calls for comment about the not guilty plea or the case before press time Thursday.

Johnson was arrested and charged in May, after Roswell police learned of accusations that he inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted a now-former employee who was younger than 18.

Court records state the girl’s mother contacted police about the allegations in March. The girl subsequently told police that Johnson gave her illegal drugs and sexually assaulted her twice on Feb. 2 while they were at a business he owns.

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The first incident, she said, occurred when she and Johnson were behind the business smoking marijuana. Court documents state he then allegedly gave her a handful of mushrooms and, later that day, sexually assaulted her while they were both inside the business.

According to court documents, the girl said Johnson often offered her marijuana and mushrooms when she worked at the business.

Johnson denied the allegations when police came to him about the reports in March.
Electronic court filings state that in May, Chaves County Magistrate Court Judge E.J. Fouratt released Johnson on his own recognizance while he awaits trial in the matter.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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