Prison guard’s trial postponed

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James Johnson had been scheduled to face jury on Wednesday

By Lisa King

The trial of James Johnson, a correctional officer with the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley charged with sexual abuse of inmates last summer, was postponded Wednesday in Shelby County Circuit Court.

Johnson  has been rescheduled for a status hearing on April 15.

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, where he 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.