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S.C. Johnson billionaire accepts plea deal in sex assault case

The heir to the S.C. Johnson household products company, Samuel Curtis 'Curt' Johnson III, has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and fourth-degree sexual assault for allegedly touching a girl back when she was between the ages of 12 and 15. The 59-year-old Wisconsin billionaire had been charged for the alleged incident since 2011, but the case has been in pre-trial litigation for the last three years.

The charges stemmed from an incident in which Johnson reportedly made comments to his Arizona therapist about his alleged actions with the girl. By law, the therapist was then required to report his statements regarding the possibility of child abuse to the police. Over the course of the pre-trial litigation, Racine County prosecutors had tried unsuccessfully to compel the holder of the records to Wisconsin so they could be reviewed by the judge; however, the matter of turning over the documents is still pending after Johnson's legal team filed an appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Although Johnson had initially faced felony charges for sexual assault of the girl, the inability of prosecutors to convince the now 17-year-old girl to come to Wisconsin from her home in North Carolina to testify reportedly led to the plea deal for the two misdemeanors. Johnson has been sentenced to four months of jail time, but will be allowed after 60 days to leave the jail for work under Huber privileges. He will also face a $6,000 fine but will not have to sign the sex registry as a sex offender upon his release.

An experienced Wisconsin criminal attorney may be able to assist defendants who are accused of sex crimes against children by working to reduce charges and helping defendants avoid a criminal trial. However, it is important to remember that plea deals are the right choice for every defendant.

Source: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Billionaire Johnson heir gets brief jail term in sex assault case" Bruce Vielmetti, Jun. 06, 2014

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