Former Florence DJ charged with child sex crimes dating back to - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Former Florence DJ charged with child sex crimes dating back to the 1990s

Eric Johnson (Source: Florence Police Department) Eric Johnson (Source: Florence Police Department)
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

Florence police have arrested a man on sodomy charges that date back about 20 years.

Florence police say they received a report in late 2016 regarding possible sexual abuse by a 42-year-old Eric Johnson. The allegation centered around deviant sexual contact involving Johnson and male children between the ages of 11 and 15.

Police say Johnson is a former disc jockey at the skate center and met the victims there, but the sexual acts occurred at his home. Police say the evidence found that the alleged crimes occurred in the mid to late 1990s.

Detectives presented evidence to a Lauderdale County grand jury in March. The grand jury returned an indictment on Johnson charging him with two counts of second-degree sodomy.

Johnson was arrested Monday and is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center on bond totaling $60,000.

Police say two victims have been identified in this case so far, but they believe more victims exist based on their investigation. They are continuing to make efforts to locate potential victims.

Investigators say many of the victims may now be adults who feared to come forward earlier.

"Our commitment, as law enforcement, is to bring closure to victims in this case and seek for Mr. Johnson to be held accountable for his actions. We, therefore, ask that anyone who was victimized by Mr. Johnson contact our department. This investigation is far from over and we will continue to seek justice for the child victims in this case," the Florence Police  Department stated in a release.

One victim spoke exclusively to WAFF 48 News and wanted to stay anonymous. He kept quiet for 15 years but said sharing his story may help other victims find their voice.

"I just felt really trapped and that I had no other choice," the victim said.

He is now in his late 20s and said he met Johnson at the Florence skate center when he was just 10 years old. The victim said Johnson molested him hundreds of times over four years.

"Looking back, I could tell that this wasn't the first time that this had happened. He knew how to groom a child into doing what he wanted them to do," he said.

As an adult, he remembers how Johnson would give him gifts for sexual acts and waking up from being drugged with Johnson on top of him. He also knew other boys were getting the same treatment.

"The younger they were, the easier they were for him to sculpt to mold into what he wanted," he said.

He said he felt helpless at the time but then saw Johnson driving around. The victim found out he still had time to report the abuse and made the call.

"One of the things was that he had seen him with children and he didn't want other children to be victimized like he was," said Florence detective Drew Harless.

Florence police believe there could be more victims and wants to send out a warning to parents.

"It can happen anywhere at any time you know. Be careful who you trust and be careful who you leave your children with," Harless said.

"I really want to urge those people that now is the time to come forward. It's real. He  is getting caught and he is arrested now," the victim said.

The victim is trying to seek therapy.

WAFF 48 News tried reaching out to the skate center for a comment, but the manager said he didn't work there at the same time as Johnson.

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