Chesapeake woman pleads guilty to molesting own children

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Chesapeake woman will spend 10 years in prison and will be forever labeled a sex offender after she admitted Wednesday to abusing and molesting her own young, handicapped sons.

Debbie M. Johnson, 35, of 20 Township Road 1039, pleaded guilty to a five-count indictment including felony rape of a child, gross sexual imposition of a child and endangering a child.

According to the indictment, the instances of abuse took place over a period of time between January 2001 and December 2003, beginning when the two boys were 2 and 7 years old.

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Johnson was accused of performing sex acts on the boys and allowing one to perform sex acts on her. She is also accused of taking Ritalin prescribed for the boys and abusing it herself.

"This is one of the worst forms of criminal activity," Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., said during the court proceeding before Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton.

When asked if she had anything to say, Johnson cried and replied,

"I'm sorry for what I've done. I've asked God to forgive me."

In sentencing Johnson, Walton noted that prior to that court proceeding she had shown no remorse for her actions.

"This particular case is one of the worst offenses," Walton said. "Š There is the fact that this went on and on. The maximum is appropriate in this case."

As part of her sentence, Johnson must now register as sexual predator.

In other action Wednesday, Walton denied a Columbus man's request to reduce the amount of bond that keeps him in prison.

Christopher Prince, 23, was one of four men arrested during a drug bust in Ironton. He is charged with trafficking in crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine.

Prince's attorney, Carol Jean Hampton, said the Lawrence County Jail currently exceeds its capacity, this is the first time Prince has been charged with anything and he has a family to consider.

"He has two kids; he's not a flight risk," she said.

But Collier argued Prince is from out of town, is facing first-degree felonies and that for his charges, the $100,000 bond is reasonable.

Walton agreed.

Also Wednesday, an Ironton man pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony domestic violence.

As part of his plea agreement, Jason France, 22, of 609 Buckhorn St., must successfully complete an in-house substance abuse treatment program and spend four years on community controlled sanctions.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown admonished France to use this opportunity to turn his life around.

"You gotta do the right thing," McCown said. "If it happens against you could wind up in prison. If you don't like her there is a thing called divorce. Now, I don't recommend divorce, I think you need to take care of each other. But this has got to stop."