Joseph Madison Johnson, 30, on Nov. 1, was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Phil Grant of the 9th District Court in Montgomery County to seven years in prison for Online Solicitation of a Minor. His sentence was part of a plea deal.
In October 2021, Johnson worked as a Caney Creek High School teacher and baseball coach. While in that position, Johnson began talking with someone he believed to be a 16-year-old girl in an anonymous online chat room. Johnson had an online dating relationship with the girl for over three months. Throughout the fall of 2021, Johnson texted the girl nearly daily and referred to her as his girlfriend.
On many occasions, the conversations were sexually explicit, and Johnson repeatedly asked the girl to send him nude photos. The explicit conversations occurred throughout the school day, even taking place while Johnson was sitting in a classroom full of students. What Johnson didn’t know was that the 16-year-old girl was an Internet Crimes Against Children detective from the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office.
When the conversations began, the detective quickly learned that Johnson was a high school baseball coach in Montgomery County and that he was chatting with another detective he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. They also learned that Johnson routinely looked for teenage girls to chat with online before they found him.
Johnson was charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor, a third-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Ultimately, Johnson agreed to plead guilty and be sentenced to seven years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
This investigation was an inter-agency and multi-county effort involving the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, the Conroe ISD Police Department, and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit.
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Taylor Vanegas said, “Those who prey on children are often clever and careful. Because this is true, we rely on our detectives to work hard to find them. Ideally, as in this case, we find them before they can put their hands on a child, and great credit should go to our law enforcement partners in spotting this defendant before that happened.”
District Attorney Brett Ligon added, “Cases like this are why we have an ICAC and Public Integrity Unit in Montgomery County. As Johnson now understands, the teacher or coach dreaming about a sick sexual relationship with a student should instead prepare for the real nightmare of prison life.”