WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man was charged Saturday with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with a St. Louis teenager who told police she was held captive in his home for three years and conceived a child with him before escaping.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said Saturday that 25-year-old Steven Elliot Johnson of Washington Park had sex with the teenager when she was underage, but would not comment on whether the evidence supports the teen's story of being held against her will.
Johnson was charged with a total of five crimes, including a felony count of promotion of prostitution, but Kelly would not say if that was related to the teenager. The other counts were two felony drug charges and a felony gun charge. He was being held in St. Clair County Jail on $2 million bond.
Johnson's mother, 54-year-old Owida Johnson, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and was being held in the jail on $15,000 bond. The teenager, now 19, told police that the mother had helped detain her and falsify medical records when the now 2-year-old child was born.
Kelly said the two counts of child endangerment involve two children, but would not say to whom the other child belonged. Two children were taken from the Johnson home on Thursday by a SWAT team.
"The investigation is ongoing," Kelly told The Associated Press. "We consider everything as it related to the credibility (of) the witnesses … in deciding whether to issue charges."
No court date has been set and Kelly said no defense attorneys have been appointed.
"These are only the preliminary charges," Washington Park Police Chief Dave Clark told the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat on Saturday. "We are continuing the investigation and there could possibly be additional charges pending."
The teenager is with family members, Kelly said. The children are now in the hands of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Kelly said that officials found unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the home, including exposed wiring, spoiled food in the refrigerator, animal feces and insects and vermin.
Police say the teenager told them she met the suspect through a social acquaintance and visited his home around the time she was reported missing. The man wouldn't allow her to go back to her parents, she told police.
Clark, the police chief, has said the teenager bolted from the home Monday and told investigators that her time in captivity included almost daily beatings and sexual assaults.
Clark said Friday investigators plan to have the child's DNA tested to determine whether Johnson is the father.
Johnson's brother, Eric Johnson, told the News-Democrat that the teenager wasn't held against her will and frequently went to neighborhood stores and the child's pediatrician.
He said his brother had thrown the teenager out of the home several times.
"She always came back," said Johnson, who also told the newspaper that he once offered to take her to a shelter after one of the couple's numerous fights.
Eric Johnson also defended his mother, telling the newspaper that she "took good care of that boy."
"When they took him out of the house, he was clean and not dirty," Johnson said.
Steven Johnson also faces charges of unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, which Kelly identified as cocaine; possession with intent to deliver marijuana; and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Kelly said Johnson had a previous conviction for residential burglary in 2005.
The five charges combined would bring a maximum sentence of 30 years.
The teenager told police she repeatedly tried to escape the house, which is on Washington Park's busiest street and next door to a convenience store, just a half mile from a freeway.
Washington Park is a village of 4,200 people tucked on the edge of East St. Louis. Known for its strip clubs and poverty, the community has grappled for years with corruption and violent crime punctuated by the 2010 shooting death of the village's mayor, John Thornton.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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