SANFORD FOSTER PARENT SENTENCED TO 170 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION OFFENSES

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U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger today sentenced Justin Dwayne Johnson, Sr. (48, Sanford) to 170 years in federal prison for four counts of production of child sexual abuse material, one count of production and attempted production of child sexual abuse material, and one count of possession of child sex abuse material. Johnson had pleaded guilty on July 7, 2022.

According to court documents, in January 2022, an investigation was initiated into Johnson after Child Protection Services was alerted that Johnson was secretly recording his foster children. Johnson disclosed to an acquaintance that he had cameras in his home to record the children in the nude and that he had videos of him touching the children. During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized several devices belonging to Johnson. Forensic examinations of Johnson’s cellphone and other electronic devices revealed numerous images and videos of child sex abuse material. Specifically, the evidence showed that Johnson used the children under his care to produce depictions of sexually explicit conduct. Johnson’s cellphone also contained numerous visual depictions of child sex abuse material depicting young children. So far, the FBI has identified at least 18 victims that were sexually exploited by Johnson.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation is one of the highest priorities of my office,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg. “This defendant victimized children who were especially vulnerable because they needed the protection of the foster care system. I am proud of the outstanding work by our local and federal law enforcement partners and my office that brought this predator to justice.”

“Instead of offering a haven for foster children, this predator betrayed the children with a home of horrific abuse,” said FBI Tampa Special Agent in Charge David Walker. “The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force is committed to identifying, locating, and recovering the innocent victims of sexual abuse and ensuring their abusers are brought to justice.

“Johnson’s crimes are particularly disturbing, in that he was in a position that is expected to provide protection and care to already vulnerable children, and he exploited that role and further victimized these young children,” said Chief Cecil Smith of the Sanford Police Department. “I hope his sentence brings some comfort to those who he has abused.”

“As you can imagine, investigations of this nature can present overwhelming challenges,” stated Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma. “However, the dedication of our teams, their diligence, and the collaborative efforts of the law enforcement professionals assigned to this case resulted in a successful prosecution and a sentence that sends a strong message that there are severe consequences for those who prey upon and exploit the most precious members of our community.” 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Sanford Police Department and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Courtney Richardson-Jones and Ilianys Rivera Miranda.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

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