UPDATE | Man facing federal charge in Evans teen abduction pleads not guilty

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News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O'clock / Friday, July 14, 2017

Jason Johnson

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Wanted signs flooded social media. On December 8, 2016, a Levi's alert was issued. A 15-year-old girl missing, and deputies say 37-year-old, Jason Johnson, was her abductor taking her all the way to Tennessee where they were eventually found.

Now, seven months later, Johnson stood in a federal courtroom pleading not guilty.

"He was arraigned on one count. Basically, the federal charge is crossing state lines with a minor with the intent to commit criminal sexual activity," said Pete Theodocion, Defense Attorney.

That's the federal charge Johnson is facing because he crossed state lines, but that's not the only charge. In Columbia County, he faces four felony counts: two counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of child molestation, and one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes.

The GBI has a task force for children that helps investigate cases like this, specifically when it comes to social media. It gives more resources and services that local agencies like Columbia County don't have. In this case, Johnson's federal charge came from federal investigators.

"He's been in jail for a long time. He's been in jail maybe 7 months already, and so we've come to terms with this, and we're just. taking it one step at a time," said Theodocion.

The District Attorney's office says Johnson's federal charge won't impact the charges he faces in Columbia County, but federal prosecutors may give Johnson trial before Columbia County simply because they have fewer cases to handle.


Friday July 14, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The suspect accused of abducting an Evans teen facing a federal charge pleaded not guilty in federal court today.

Johnson is facing one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Investigators said Johnson took a then 15-year-old Columbia County teen to Tennessee, where he gave her drugs. He was, in turn, arrested six days later in a candy shop with the teen girl.

Johnson knowingly brought the minor across state lines between August and December 2016 with plans for unlawful sexual activity according to court documents.

Johnson, if convicted, could face ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, five years of supervised release and will have to register as a sex offender.



Monday, July 10, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The man accused of abducting an Evans teen is facing a federal charge.

Jason Johnson is facing one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Investigators say Johnson took a Columbia County teen, then 15-years-old, to Tennessee where he gave her drugs. He was arrested six days later in a candy shop with the teen girl.

Court documents state Johnson knowingly brought the minor across state lines between August and December 2016 with plans for unlawful sexual activity.

If convicted, Johnson could face ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, five years of supervised release, and will have to register as a sex offender.



Friday, March 31, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The man accused of abducting an Evans teen has pleaded not guilty and requested a jury.

Jason Johnson did not get brought out in court on Friday for his arraignment. Instead, his attorney said he pleaded not guilty.

John has been indicted on aggravated child molestation charges.

A judge denied bond for Johnson back in January, and he remains in custody.

Investigators say Johnson took 15-year-old to Tennessee where he gave her drugs. He was arrested six days later in a candy shop with the teen girl.


Friday, March 10, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The man accused of abducting an Evans teen has been indicted on aggravated child molestation charges.

Jason Johnson, 37, is facing four felony counts including two counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of child molestation, and one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes. He also is facing a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A judge denied bond for Johnson back in January, and he remains in custody. Investigators say Johnson took 15-year-old Calah Waskow to Tennessee where he gave her drugs. He was arrested six days later in a candy shop with the teen girl.



Monday, Jan. 24, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The man accused of abducting an Evans teen will face a Superior Court Judge.

A hearing in a Magistrate Court found sufficient probable cause to send Jason Johnson to a Superior Court on all charges.

Johnson is accused of aggravated molestation, child molestation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

He was denied bond earlier in January.


Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man accused of abducting an Evans teen has been denied bond.

A judge denied bond for Jason Johnson. He's accused of aggravated molestation, child molestation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

His ex-wife and their two kids were in court for the bond hearing Friday night.



Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Police documents uncover new details about the timeline of what may have happened between 37-year-old Jason Johnson and a teenager in the days leading up to their disappearance.

Investigators say Johnson took a Columbia County teen to Tennessee where he gave her drugs. He was arrested six days later in a candy shop with the teen girl.

According to a North Augusta police report, the teen's mother began to have growing concerns about her daughter days before the teen ran away.

The report states an investigator in Columbia County briefly questioned the 15-year-old about her relationship with Jason Johnson on December 2nd.

The report says the teen told the investigator she had been seeing Johnson, and that the Sheriff's Office asked her to come in the following week to be interviewed more about her alleged relationship with Johnson.

The follow-up interview never happened because investigators say she didn't show up. We now know that interview was to happen on December 6th and that the teen ran away from home the night before her mother reported her missing.

Also on December 6th, investigators issued a warrant for Johnson's arrest. On the 7th, police put Johnson's picture out for aggravated child molestation but did not mention the girl's name. They say, at that point, they were still working to confirm a relationship between the two.

The next day, on the 8th, an amber alert was issued. Two days later police arrested Johnson in Tennessee.

The teen interviewed with the Sheriff's Office when she returned home. According to North Augusta police documents, she says the relationship started in June and that they would meet in North Augusta, Columbia County, and Richmond County.

Johnson is charged with aggravated child molestation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child molestation, and enticing a child for indecent purposes. The FBI is involved in the investigation because Johnson crossed state lines with a minor.

Read the original version of this article at www.wrdw.com.