*Media Releases by the District Attorney’s Office are limited by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announced today a jury convicted Baldwin City resident Teri Lynn Johnson, 34, of unlawful sexual relations, sexual exploitation of a child and promoting obscenity to minors. Johnson was a paraprofessional employed by the Lawrence Public Schools to work in the day school, which is located within the Juvenile Detention Center at the time of the crimes, but is no longer employed there.
DA Branson said of the verdict, “Even when a juvenile is in custody, it is our absolute obligation to protect that person from harm and hold accountable any offender against the juvenile. The jury’s verdict does just that.”
On Thursday, December 10, 2015, the 17-year-old victim’s mother reported to staff at the Juvenile Detention Center that her son had a sexual encounter with a paraprofessional at the day school. Law enforcement was then contacted to investigate the conduct.
Johnson’s trial began on Wednesday March 1 with jury selection. The jury heard opening arguments and testimony from one witness late that day. The State continued presenting evidence the following day at 9:00 a.m. The case continued through Friday when closing arguments were delivered and the case went to the jury at approximately 12:30 p.m. The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning its verdict.
Johnson faces 31-136 months in prison for the unlawful sexual relation charge and for the sexual exploitation of a child charge. The promoting obscenity to minors charge carries a maximum sentence of up one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Her actual sentence will depend on her prior criminal history. The Court also ordered a pre-sentence investigation be completed and scheduled her to be sentenced on April 14 at 10:00 a.m.
The Honorable Peggy C. Kittel presided over the case. It was investigated by the Lawrence Police Department and it was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alice Walker and Senior Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan.
*Rule 226 - Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
3.6 Advocate: Trial Publicity
3.8 Advocate: Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor