Letter to the Editor: Johnson didn’t get chance to defend himself

L. Johnson copy

Leonard Johnson | Photo courtesy of Adams County Jail

Leonard Johnson (who was found guilty in January of four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under the age of 13) did not get a chance to defend himself!

There’s two sides to every story, and a good journalist would look for it. Mr. Johnson can be a little eccentric, but he is by no way a child molester.

Did you ask yourself why the charges were dropped in Missouri? I read and reread the article. The mother in this case was supposed to meet them at this motel but never showed up. Think about it. Perfect setup.

I do not know Mr. Johnson’s attorney, but he did not work for him. He never mentioned why the trial was dropped in Missouri nor mention if this physically would have been able to happen.

I’ve known Mr. Johnson for 10 years. I’ve also known of this mother, a person who continually asked him for money. He would go without so she could have the money. I yelled at him to stop. She was young and able-bodied to work. Mr. Johnson did not make that much income, so he went without crucial medicine he needed and without food.

Finally during COVID, the gymnastics gym he coached at had to shut down. He went home to visit before going to West Virginia to get a new coaching job. He had to finally say no to her begging for money, and this is what happened as a result. Very sad.

Mr. Johnson was my granddaughter’s coach. I was proud to have him coach her. He taught her how to never give up but work through it. He also taught the girls how to do gymnastics safely. My granddaughter was competing within her first year of training. Eventually she was in the gym four to six hours a day, six days a week.

I never left. They had a place for parents to watch. On days the gym closed for holidays, etc., he would find something fun to do such as wall climbing or Crossfit swimming. Only the girls — and always, always the parents — came. He has worked with children for many, many years. In fact, the men’s seven-time national champion and three-time Olympian started his gymnastics training with Mr. Johnson.

Penny Ryan 
St. Charles, Minn.

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