New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 18, 2020

Charles City man to serve seven years for sex crimes with minors committed in 1990s

By Andre Jones | September 3, 2019 2:09 pm

A Charles City man will spend the next seven years in prison after receiving formal sentencing on three counts of aggravated sexual battery with a minor.

Rodney Johnson, 53, of the 9500 block of Lewis Tyler Lane, learned his fate during Tuesday morning proceedings in Charles City Circuit Court.

In November 2018, Johnson averted a jury trial and accepted a plea agreement to the aforementioned charges. The defendant had 37 charges dropped as part of the deal. During that trial, it was revealed that between 1996 and 2001, Johnson was dating the mother of one of the three victims. The victims, who ranged from age six to eight during that time, were exposed to Johnson’s sexual antics that included him teaching them how to masturbate.

As the victims became adults, one of them began attending counseling sessions to address the situation with therapy. Through those sessions, the victim reported the crimes to authorities and an investigation began. Eventually, Johnson was arrested on the charges.

After receiving testimony from the defense, Johnson chose to address the court prior to his sentencing, apologizing for his behavior.

“I hope and pray that one day that they can forgive me,” he said to the court. “What I did 20 years ago was horrible and I was a young man then. But I am now a Christian and I hope that I am judged for who I am today. I apologize to the victims and their family for betraying their trust.”

Judge B. Elliott Bondurant said while he sees glimpses that the defendant may be changing, he still had to take into account what took place.

“You took the innocence of these young girls away and they are still struggling with it today,” the judge said, referencing the victim impact statement. “While I understand that you have changed, I have to weigh it in account for what you happened and send a message that what you did wasn’t right.”

Johnson received a 10-year sentence with three years suspended (seven to serve) on the first count of aggravated sexual battery with a minor. All ten years on each of the remaining two counts were suspended.

In an unrelated case, a Charles City woman will undergo treatment for a year as part of a plea agreement.

Jesse Ann White, 34, of the 11000 block of Roxbury Road, entered a guilty plea to a lone count of possession of a Schedule I/II substance.

In a summary of evidence, on Apr. 11, a Charles City deputy stopped a vehicle driven by the defendant for speeding. Upon approaching the vehicle, an odor of marijuana emitted from the car, resulting in the officer conducting a search. Inside the trunk of the vehicle was a bottle that contained four pills that were later identified as methamphetamine. White admitted that the pills belonged to her and that she didn’t have a prescription.

Under the agreement, no formal finding was rendered as the defendant was ordered into a rehabilitation program. If White successfully completes all of rehabilitation, the charge will be reduced to misdemeanor accessory to possessing a Schedule I/II substance.