Johnson pleads guilty to five felony counts

Former Placer County Sheriff’s deputy engaged in sexual intercourse with minor
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Former Placer County Sheriff’s deputy Michael Stuart Johnson pleaded guilty to five felony counts involving sexual acts with minors Thursday afternoon. The presiding judge had Johnson, 26, read aloud each of the five counts which include unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, digital penetration with a foreign object with a minor, oral copulation with a person under the age of 18, unlawful use of computer access and harmful conduct exhibited to a minor. The charges involve three females all under the age of 18 at the time of the offenses. The first count of statutory rape involved a 16-year-old female and occurred between July 6, 2007 and Aug. 31, 2007. During the plea hearing, Deputy District Attorney Garen Horst said evidence indicated that on more than one occasion sexual intercourse occurred with that minor. The second felony count of digital penetration also involved the 16-year-old female. Johnson also pleaded guilty to unlawfully using a computer database as a Placer County employee to access information about that female. Johnson was employed as a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy at the time. In December his employment with the county ended through no action of the county, according to officials. The fourth felony count of oral copulation occurred between Aug. 8, 2003 and June 17, 2004 and involved a second female who was 17 years old at the time. Johnson was employed as an Auburn police officer at the time, according to Horst. The fifth count of harmful conduct occurred Aug. 4, 2007 with a 15-year-old female. Evidence showed that Johnson used his county e-mail address to send pornographic video clips of “an increasingly graphic nature” to the female, Horst said. In total, Johnson was charged with 23 felony counts. Horst said the five felony counts Johnson pleaded guilty to represented Johnson’s conduct with each victim. Horst said Johnson will be required to register as a sex offender. Tom Leupp, Johnson’s attorney, declined to comment while sentencing is pending. Johnson could be sentenced to probation, up to a year for each charge in county jail, or up to five years and eight months in state prison. Sentencing was set for July 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 13. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.