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Lexington County man pleads guilty in child porn case, gets 80 years in prison

Lexington, SC 04/08/2022 (Paul Kirby) - On Thursday, April 7th, 2022, Johnathan David Johnson, 33, pled guilty in a Lexington County courtroom to one count of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor and one count of First-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. There were no plea negotiations or recommendations made in this case. Circuit Court Judge Lawton McIntosh sentenced Johnson to eighty years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. Under South Carolina law, these offenses are classified as violent and most serious offenses, making Johnson ineligible for parole.


This case was prosecuted by Eleventh Circuit Assistant Solicitor Ashley Wellman. Following the sentence, Wellman stated, “Johnson has demonstrated that no child is safe around him. This sentence ensures this sexual predator will never be able to hurt another child again.”


Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated, “this offender has shown that he will always be a danger to children. We are thankful for justice in this case, with the assurance that he will no longer pose a threat to our community.”

In 2014, Johnson became a target in the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Hydra,” which was a large-scale child pornography investigation. As a result of that investigation, Johnson was convicted of possessing pre-pubescent child pornography and sentenced to sixty-three months in federal prison.


Then again, in April of 2017, while Johnson was in federal prison, a laptop was discovered that contained a video Johnson recorded of himself attempting to rape a three-year old child on August 15, 2014 in his Gaston, SC home. Sgt. Adam Creech with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Unit spearheaded this investigation with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security.

Johnson has been transported to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin immediate service of the sentence.



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