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Johnson’s final court date before trial rescheduled

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By Lisa King

James Johnson, a correctional officer with the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley, who was charged with sexual abuse of inmates last summer, was scheduled to appear in Shelby Circuit Court on Monday for a final pretrial conference before his case goes to trial next month, but had that date changed to March 4.  

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Melanie Carroll had said last fall that she expected Johnson to make a plea agreement with her office, but that arrangement never materialized.

Johnson, 52, of Frankfort was arrested in July 2011 and charged with 21 counts of second-degree sexual abuse as it applies to a Department of Corrections employee’s subjecting an incarcerated person over the age of 18 to sexual contact. He was also charged with official misconduct, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree promotion of contraband.

Kentucky State Police Det. Kevin Calhoon said the investigation by Post 12 detectives revealed that Johnson, a sergeant at the prison, who has worked there for nine years, was supplying controlled substances to female inmates and sexually abusing them.

Second-degree sexual abuse carries a penalty of up to a year in prison for each charge, as does official misconduct.

Calhoon said he does not know how long the alleged abuse had been occurring, and that Johnson would be on administrative leave until the outcome of the investigation.

A trial date has been set for March 27.