Bulloch County Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed sentenced a former city of Statesboro employee Wednesday to 25 years to serve, without parole, for multiple child molestation charges.
Harvey Wayne Johnson, 68, Cleary Road, Brooklet, who was Statesboro’s water and sewer department director and worked with the city over 30 years, is also designated as a “sexual predator” after entering the guilty plea.
Johnson was charged in January with one count of aggravated child molestation, two counts of child molestation, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and four counts of sexual exploitation of children, but in a plea agreement admitted guilt to all charges except enticing a child of indecent purposes. Those charges were “nolle prossed,” or not prosecuted, as part of the plea.
Johnson was arrested after accusations that he victimized a 13-year-old female who is not related to him, according to Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown in a statement released after Johnson’s arrest earlier this year.
However, evidence showed Johnson committed numerous offenses against minors over an expanse of several years, said Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Catherine S. Findley, who prosecuted the case.
Johnson created child pornography using “several; mediums” as he committed the acts against children, she said.
According to the indictment, Johnson possessed digital and other images of victims, including non-intercourse sexual acts, in some cases involving an adult. He also took victims to undisclosed locations for the purpose of molesting them, the indictment said.
” Mr. Johnson’s entry of a guilty plea to the aggravated child molestation count legally provides that the 25-year prison sentence must be served without parole consideration,” Findley said. “It also automatically designates Mr. Johnson as a sexual predator. This is important because it means that Mr. Johnson’s earliest chance of release from prison would not be until January 3, 2041, only days before his 93rd birthday. This will ensure that no child will ever be a victim of Harvey Wayne Johnson again.”
Peed also handed down a sentence to run concurrently with the 25-year sentence – 19 years for the charges of three counts of child molestation and four counts of sexual exploitation of children.
“…Georgia law now requires that for sexually-based offenses, at least one year of probation is included to provide for entry into, and enforcement of, the Sex-Offender Registry and mandatory Sex-Offender Special Conditions,” Findley said. “This is why the sentence reflects on (the aggravated child molestation charge) 25 years to serve with no parole, followed by life on probation, and on the remaining guilty counts,19 years to serve followed by one year on probation.”
The “controlling count” of the Indictment is the aggravated child molestation, in which the first 25 years must be served without parole due to the aggravated nature of the offense, she said.
Peed handed down the sentence in open court Wednesday, and “the sentence will now be put in written form,” Findley said.
She praised law enforcement for a thorough investigation.
“I would like to point out that the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office did an absolutely outstanding job in investigating this matter and efficiently bringing Mr. Johnson to justice for these heinous offenses,” she said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414