New Charges Filed Against Former Newspaper Reporter

Johnson County Judicial Center

New charges have been filed against Michael Johnson, a former employee of a Buffalo newspaper, stemming from an investigation that uncovered new evidence against him which resulted in the filing of additional charges and the scheduling of a preliminary hearing next week.

Johnson was originally to have been arraigned on the original charges on May 23rd, but Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Stensaas filed a motion asking to dismiss the charges so new charges could be filed.

Johnson originally faced charges of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana; possession of a controlled substance, marijuana with intent to distribute, and a third count, taking immodest, immoral or indecent liberties with a minor less than 17 years of age and being at least four years younger than the accused, according to court documents.

The new charges, filed late last week, include 12 separate counts, including one count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, a misdemeanor; one count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana with intent to deliver, a felony; two counts of being at least 17 years of age and taking immodest, immoral or indecent liberties with victim who is less than 17 years of age and at least four years younger than the actor (two separate victims); seven separate counts of manufacturing, generating, receiving, distributing, or reproducing child pornography; and one count of felony possession of child pornography.

The misdemeanor possession charge is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 or both if convicted.
The felony intent to distribute charge is punishable by up to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000 or both.
The felony sexual abuse charges are punishable by up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Seven of the eight felony child pornography charges are punishable by at least five years, not more than 12 years and up to a $10,000 fine or both.
One count of felony possession of child pornography is punishable by not less than 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine or both.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Monday, June 6th in Johnson County Circuit Court, where Johnson will face the new charges filed against him.