Scott A. Johnson – Sexual Predator in Denial

“You know, I was kinda in denial, you know, about the whole sexual predator or pedophile but maybe I am…,” Johnson allegedly told a detective. “I never figured myself as one, but, you know, maybe none of the others out there thought they was one either.”

A former St. John’s Health System employee faces more than 15 felony charges after police say he convinced several females to weigh themselves in the nude, then secretly videotaped it.

Scott A. Johnson, 29, was charged Monday with 17 counts of invasion of privacy, a class D felony.

Police say the former trainer at the St. John’s Health Tracks facility, 4331 S. Fremont Ave., admitted to exploiting the trust of four female athletes — one of them currently 16 — by filming them nude or in their underwear.

Investigators eventually uncovered three videotapes they say contained the rogue footage, including nine tapings where the victim was under 18.

Despite this, prosecutors’ options in charging Johnson were limited.

“I wanted to be able to charge him with something child porn related,” said Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Russ Dempsey. “That would have been a more-serious charge.”

The problem, Dempsey said, is that none of the footage contains sexual conduct, sexual contact or sexual performances, and so fails to meet the state’s definition of child pornography.

A probable cause statement filed with the charges details an elaborate deception, in which Johnson physically moved scales into a private room where he’d hidden a video camera.

The document says Johnson convinced the females — currently between 16 and 24 years old — to weigh themselves nude to get “a more accurate weight.” Officials say that practice is not common at Health Tracks, which offers training programs to enhance athletic performance, and Johnson was not authorized to ask the females to undress.

St. John’s officials learned of the alleged misconduct on Oct. 28, when an employee found one of the facility’s cameras contained footage of nude female athletes.

A St. John’s official linked Johnson to the tape, and the man allegedly admitted to taping the females, but said it was an isolated incident.

He was fired.

Police were called the next day, and St. John’s Security Director Dwayne Doran told officers an internal audit found two tapes missing from the facility.

Investigators later found two partially destroyed tapes in a trash can at Johnson’s South Golden Ave. home, the probable cause statement says. The tapes allegedly contained 18 episodes in which the man had secretly taped his clients.

“There were also several incidents in which Johnson is seen on camera and at one point he looks into the camera to ensure that it is on,” the probable cause document says.

In discussions with investigators, Johnson allegedly considered whether taping an underage teen made him a pedophile.

“You know, I was kinda in denial, you know, about the whole sexual predator or pedophile but maybe I am…,” Johnson allegedly told a detective. “I never figured myself as one, but, you know, maybe none of the others out there thought they was one either.”

The charges against Johnson don’t pinpoint the exact dates he allegedly taped his clients. Instead they each offer a timeframe in which prosecutors believe a crime occurred. The earliest possible incident date is June 4, 2005.

Each of the charges against Johnson carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

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