- Associated Press - Sunday, August 26, 2012

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man was charged Saturday with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with a St. Louis teenager who told police she was held captive in his home for three years and conceived a child with him before escaping.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said Saturday that 25-year-old Steven Elliot Johnson of Washington Park had sex with the teenager when she was underage, but would not comment on whether the evidence supports the teen’s story of being held against her will.

Johnson was charged with a total of five crimes, including a felony count of promotion of prostitution, but Kelly would not say if that was related to the teenager. The other counts were two felony drug charges and a felony gun charge. He was being held in St. Clair County Jail on $2 million bond.

Johnson’s mother, 54-year-old Owida Johnson, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and was being held in the jail on $15,000 bond. The teenager, now 19, told police that the mother had helped detain her and falsify medical records when the now 2-year-old child was born.

Kelly said the two counts of child endangerment involve two children, but would not say to whom the other child belonged. Two children were taken from the Johnson home on Thursday by a SWAT team.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Kelly told The Associated Press. “We consider everything as it related to the credibility (of) the witnesses … in deciding whether to issue charges.”

No court date has been set and Kelly said no defense attorneys have been appointed.

“These are only the preliminary charges,” Washington Park Police Chief Dave Clark told the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/SCexQl) on Saturday. “We are continuing the investigation and there could possibly be additional charges pending.”

The teenager is with family members, Kelly said. The children are now in the hands of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Kelly said that officials found unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the home, including exposed wiring, spoiled food in the refrigerator, animal feces and insects and vermin.

Police say the teenager told them she met the suspect through a social acquaintance and visited his home around the time she was reported missing. The man wouldn’t allow her to go back to her parents, she told police.

Clark, the police chief, has said the teenager bolted from the home Monday and told investigators that her time in captivity included almost daily beatings and sexual assaults.

Clark said Friday investigators plan to have the child’s DNA tested to determine whether Johnson is the father.

Johnson’s brother, Eric Johnson, told the News-Democrat that the teenager wasn’t held against her will and frequently went to neighborhood stores and the child’s pediatrician.

He said his brother had thrown the teenager out of the home several times.

Story Continues →