Charge in sexual assault case to be dismissed if Spicer, Minnesota, man successfully completes probation
Brian Michael Johnson, 21, of Spicer, was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court to 10 years of probation and 90 days in jail, which he is currently serving. Prosecutors agreed to a stay of adjudication in an agreement that he plead guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
WILLMAR — A 21-year-old man from Spicer who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 17-year-old in 2020 is currently serving a 90-day jail sentence and also will be on probation for 10 years.
Brian Michael Johnson received a stay of adjudication in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Under the stay of adjudication, the offense will be dismissed if he successfully completes probation and no conviction will appear on his record.
Per the plea agreement, the Kandiyohi County attorney agreed not to argue for more than 90 days of jail. At sentencing, Johnson received credit for six days served. He began serving the rest of his jail sentence on Feb. 24.
District Judge Stephen Wentzell ordered a 10-year probation term. Conditions include following recommendations of a psychological-sexual evaluation, no possession or use of alcohol or drugs except as prescribed, random testing, no direct or indirect contact with the victim and her family, and Johnson must stay a reasonable distance away from her residence.
Inside the courthouse at the Jan. 30 sentencing, a representative from the county read the victim's impact statement to the court.
“2020 was difficult for everyone, but it was difficult for me because I dealt with a sexual assault. ... I felt like a monster because of what you did.”
According to the filed criminal complaint, Johnson forced a 17-year-old female to perform a sex act in the back of his truck in late October of 2020.
She reported the alleged assault to police in January 2021 and told them that she had repeatedly told Johnson she did not want to do anything.
According to the complaint, she knew Johnson and had agreed to meet him, but he later refused to bring her home when she asked him many times after they had driven around the Spicer and New London areas.
The victim wrote in her statement that she is in a better mental place, but suffers from flashbacks.
Johnson’s lawyer, Ryan Garry of Minneapolis, said that he felt a reduced sentence was appropriate due to Johnson’s remorse. Johnson had already completed the required psycho-sexual evaluation before the hearing.
Garry said Johnson had been the past victim of verbal and physical abuse by a family member.
In a brief filed with the court in February of 2022, Garry wrote there are records of Johnson being enrolled in a number of treatment and psychiatric programs from around ages 11 to 15 due to the alleged abuse.
Johnson lives with family members and is a caregiver while working two jobs in order to get his life back on track, Garry said.
In his statement, Johnson said he “deeply regrets the allegations and circumstances” that put him in district court and also apologized.
Jonson asked Judge Wentzell that he be allowed to continue working during his sentence.
Wentzell said while it was clear Johnson had setbacks in his life, they were not an excuse given the seriousness of the charge.
He also spoke directly to Johnson and said, “these are not allegations.” Wentzell reminded Johnson that he admitted to committing the offense, citing the plea petition and the victim’s impact statement before elaborating that his actions inflicted a great amount of pain.
Wentzell also told Johson that he was getting a “big break” with the agreement to a stay of adjudication for the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, an offense that has a presumptive 48-month prison sentence.
Judge Wentzell said Johnson was young enough to make positive changes in his life and that he was “off to a good start.” However, he remained concerned given a reopened gross misdemeanor fifth-degree drug possession case, for which Johnson originally received a stay of adjudication before being convicted of the charge in September 2021 after admitting to a probation violation.
Johnson also has an open case for a single felony level fifth-degree drug possession charge. The next hearing in that case is a settlement conference scheduled for May 17.
Before adjourning court, Wentzell told Johnson that his time in jail would be a good opportunity to reflect on and assess the risks identified in his evaluation reports.
Asked for comment after the hearing Garry said, “we are happy the judge accepted the agreement to a stay of adjudication. Brian will not be convicted and his criminal record will remain clean.”