JEFFERSON — A former Jefferson Police officer has been charged with two counts of misconduct in public office after allegedly trading sexual favors for confidential law enforcement information.
Daniel R. Johnson — who resigned from the department in September 2018 — was charged after an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) found a 25-year-old woman gave him oral sex in exchange for money and confidential information from Jefferson County Child Protective Services (CPS), according to the criminal complaint.
These sexual encounters allegedly occurred in Johnson’s squad car while he was on duty and still were ongoing as the DOJ investigation circled around him.
If convicted, Johnson, 42, faces a combined maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.
In June of 2018, the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) received a request to investigate Johnson by the county sheriff’s office and CPS.
DCI investigators interviewed the woman on Aug. 7, 2018. In that interview, she said, that in March of 2017, she met Johnson in the parking lot of Jefferson’s Piggly Wiggly Supermarket.
The woman told investigators she asked Johnson for the Social Security number of another individual, which she said she needed for court documents that related to guardianship proceedings for her children.
Johnson told the woman that he would give her the information she wanted “for a small price,” the complaint states.
The woman paid that small price by performing oral sex on Johnson in his squad car in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, according to the complaint.
Investigators confirmed details of the interview with the woman by establishing that Johnson had, in fact, used a law enforcement database to look up the other individual’s information on March 16, 2017.
A criminal background check of this other individual would have included the Social Security number and the search wouldn’t have been related to any official police investigation, according to the complaint.
A year later, in June of 2018, the woman again sought a favor from Johnson.
She asked him to find out the names of individuals who had filed a child abuse complaint about her children with CPS, the complaint states.
The names of people making CPS reports is confidential.
The woman met Johnson in the parking lot behind the Jefferson Public Library, where he gave her two names, according to the complaint.
While no sexual acts happened at this meeting, Johnson told the woman he owed her something, the complaint states.
GPS records from Johnson’s squad car placed him in that parking lot between 3:16 a.m. and 3:40 a.m. on June 18, 2018, according to the complaint.
Four days after this meeting in the library parking lot, three DOJ investigators interviewed Johnson.
In that interview, Johnson denied telling the woman he would give her the CPS reports.
The investigators told him they had messages between the two of them in which Johnson said he would give the woman the reports, the complaint states.
Johnson also conceded that the woman had asked for someone else’s Social Security number, but that he never gave it to her, the complaint states.
When investigators explained the allegations of the sexual relationship between the two, Johnson also denied this, the complaint states. But investigators told Johnson they were in possession of sexually explicit messages between the two of them.
Johnson said it never got that far, according to the complaint.
Johnson admitted to investigators that he’d given her around $500, but said that she hadn’t paid him back, the complaint states.
Johnson was hired by the Jefferson Police Department in September of 2003, according to the department’s 2018 Annual Report. At the time of Johnson’s resignation, Jefferson Police Chief Keith Pileggi told the Jefferson Common Council it was for “personal reasons,” the Daily Union reported.
Johnson was charged March 27, 2019. He initially appeared in Jefferson County Circuit Court April 11, when he was released on a signature bond of $5,000.
Conditions of his bond include not having any contact with the woman and that he not work for law enforcement in any capacity while the case is pending.
Johnson’s attorney, Paul Bucher, said Johnson has denied the allegations.
Johnson next is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Circuit Court Jan. 17, 2020, for a final status conference. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 23-24, 2020.