Two new victims found in former principal sex assault case

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by Chris Patterson

MILWAUKEE -- Former charter school principal Ronnie Johnson, 46, is facing additional criminal charges after investigators find out about two more sexual assault victims. Johnson was initially charged for sexually abusing three brothers over the course of ten years.

The three brothers all attended the YMCA's Young Leaders Academy where Johnson was the principal. Johnson allegedly called his house the ranch, and told several young boys to call him "The Godfather".

According to the criminal complaint, several young boys would visit Johnson's home to play basketball, pool, video games and watch movies. The boys would also get paid to do odd jobs around Johnson's home like cutting the grass. These visits usually involved spending the night. The alleged victims told police other students would "hang out" at his home as well.

The criminal complaint says the brothers would visit Johnson's home a few times a month, but each eventually stopped visiting as Johnson allegedly assaulted each boy several times. The criminal complaint shows Johnson's pattern of being a "father figure" to boys, but eventually sexually assaulting them.

The brothers all tell police, they would awake to Johnson touching them. One of the boys said he didn't tell anyone, because Johnson was a family friend. They also told police he was friends with their stepfather. Another one of the boys documented the sexual assaults in a journal. 

Two new victims were discovered as investigators searched Johnson's Brown Deer home. They found letters written to him from two victims who are incarcerated at the Waupun Correction Facility. The first victim police spoke with said he was sent by his adopted mother to live with Johnson between 2002 and 2003, because he was getting into trouble. This victim was the only one to report Johnson engaged in intercourse with him. He says Johnson told him, "This is between us, you're my son."

The second newly discovered victim told police Johnson and his mother were teachers together at Lee Elementary School. He said his mother allowed him to hang out with Johnson, because she thought Johnson would be a positive influence on him. The second newly discovered victim says Johnson sexually assaulted him several times over the course of seven to eight years.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee issued the following statement:
 
"The safety and security of children in our care always has been and always will be our first concern. We are shocked and appalled to learn of the serious allegations made against a former principal of the Young Leaders Academy. We understand that formal charges have been filed against this individual by the authorities and intend to cooperate fully with the police investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the alleged victims and their family."

After his arrest, Johnson was fired from a new charter school that was set to open this Fall.

If convicted of all 23 criminal charges, Johnson faces 755.5 year prison sentence.

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