The Register-Guard reported yesterday that a US missionary from Coos Bay was released from a Cambodian prison and returned to the United States this week to be prosecuted for molesting an underage boy while overseas.
Daniel Stephen Johnson, 36, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Eugene on a charge of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place. An indictment filed in the federal case states that the alleged crime occurred in Cambodia. Johnson was lodged in the Lane County Jail on Tuesday, after authorities in Cambodia reportedly handed him over to a team of FBI agents who took him into custody and brought him to Oregon.
In Cambodia, Johnson was sentenced to one year in prison for committing indecent acts against 5 underage boys who were in his care at an orphanage he had operated for about 10 years. He completed his sentence in mid-December and got deported by the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration.
Child protection organisation APLE, who assisted police investigate complaints by the victims, is disappointed with Johnson’s light sentence in Cambodia but congratulates the government’s decision to deport Johnson which is a clear signal and helps serve as deterrent for other criminals that Cambodia will not allow such crimes, and that perpetrators will not only serve time in prison, but also be deported afterwards.
According to The Register-Guard’s news report, a federal grand jury in Eugene voted to indict Johnson on Dec. 10, while he was still in prison in Cambodia. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday. It alleges that Johnson sexually abused an underage boy while overseas between November 2005 and October 2006. Authorities have not said whether the victim in the federal case is one of the children whom Johnson was convicted of molesting in Cambodia. FBI spokeswoman Jennifer Adams said Friday that she could not comment on Johnson’s case because it involves an ongoing investigation.
The US government passed the 2003 federal law ‘PROTECT Act’ which made it a crime for any U.S. citizen to have illegal sexual contact with a minor in a foreign country. The offense carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years upon conviction.
The Register-Guard also reported that more than a decade ago, Johnson was accused in Oregon of molesting three children in his sister’s care. But Lincoln County prosecutors dismissed sexual abuse and sodomy charges in the case after investigators began to doubt the alleged victims’ statements, according to a 2003 article in the Yamhill Valley News-Register. The article described Johnson as a part-time missionary and said he was arrested at an airport upon returning from a trip to Asia.
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